NM - Former inmate wins $22 million over 'forgotten' solitary confinement

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Reader, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/25/justice/inmate-settlement/index.html?hpt=ju_c2

    (CNN) -- A New Mexico man held in solitary confinement in a county prison for nearly two years without ever being prosecuted has won a $22 million jury award for violation of his constitutional rights, officials said.

    It is one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history involving an inmate. Stephen Slevin alleged he was essentially forgotten while in custody.

    "This has never been about the money," Slevin said in a halting voice outside the federal courthouse in Santa Fe, just after the jury's decision.

    He suffers from post-traumatic stress from what he called physical and mental mistreatment by corrections officials in Dona Ana County, in the southern part of the state.

    "We made a statement about what happened to me," he said of the verdict.


    More at link....
     
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  3. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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  4. Jacie Estes

    Jacie Estes Medical Marijuana Advocate

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    At some point, for a DUI, he should have been brought in front of a judge. As I read this story this morning, I wondered how many others have had a similar circumstance and if it could account for some people who are missing.
     
  5. badhorsie

    badhorsie Mouth operational, brain elsewhere...

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    I am putting this in this forum because it sounds like a crime to me.

    Stephen Slevin was driving along a rural highway in southern New Mexico in August 2005 when traffic police pulled him over and arrested him on suspicion of drink-driving, along with a string of other motoring offences.

    By the time all of the charges against him were dismissed and Mr Slevin was released from custody, it was 2007. For reasons that remain unclear, officials had forced him to spend the intervening two years in solitary confinement.

    More at link including photos
     
  6. amandab

    amandab Well-Known Member

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    OMG......that poor man!! :(
     
  7. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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  8. BuzzieCat

    BuzzieCat New Member

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    The solitary confinement is one issue, but what I want to know is how they held him for two years without appointing him a lawyer, taking him before a judge, etc.
     
  9. Filly

    Filly KICKING AND SHINING

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    Dayum. Poor man. His startling appearance instantly reminded me of Gary Oldman in "Chattahoochee".
     
  10. LadyL

    LadyL Well-Known Member

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    bizarre & creepy that this happened in a 'civilized' country

    & incredibly unfortunate that he apparently had no family/friends looking for him (?)
     
  11. butwhatif?

    butwhatif? New Member

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  12. Reader

    Reader New Member

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  13. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    As the threads are now combined, my two posts above link to the same New Yorker article, which I'd posted on both. (In case someone happens to click on both and feels him- or herself suffering from a case of sudden onset déjà vu.)
     
  14. davehead21

    davehead21 Active Member

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    I wondered about his family and friends too. I cannot imagine that he didn't have at least one person who missed him. I also cannot imagine that at least one person in that prison didn't do something for this man. This story is all kinds of strange....did anyone lose their job over this? I certainly hope so.

    I know it's just TV but there is an old episode of SVU where Stabler goes undercover to see what solitary is like. I remember being absolutely horrified, it scared the heck out of me. That, for sure, would be my own personal hell.
     
  15. packerdog

    packerdog Active Member

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  16. BuzzieCat

    BuzzieCat New Member

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    http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2...-solitary-confinement-reveal-dwi-mans-despair

    "Slevin’s sister and other family members actively fought for his release near the end of his detainment once they became aware of his plight, Coyte told msnbc.com Thursday.

    “It was her and his aunt and various other family members who were calling legislators, calling county commissioners, saying, ‘Where’s my brother?’” he said."


    Another article: http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_19896910

    "A crisis triage center has been discussed for years, and, after the state Legislature declined to fund it several times, Doña Ana County commissioners voted late last year to pay the construction cost. The facility will hold for up to 24 hours mentally ill patients who are detained but not accused of a serious crime, allow them to be evaluated by a mental health professional and directed to the best route within the system, officials have said."

    "The county agreed to a number of conditions, including staffing mental health-care personnel, creating a separate unit for detainees with mental health problems, evaluating all inmates for psychiatric problems upon admission and boosting jail guard numbers."
     
  17. ThoughtFox

    ThoughtFox Expecting the Unexpected

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    I think this is a chilling untold story in this country - the power of jails to keep people locked up in solitary so that they never see family or an attorney for weeks or months at a time. Especially if you have a local jail that is private or outsourced, they make their own rules, and most of the people who work there are barely literate. Civil rights? Never heard of that concept.

    The way it works with attorneys is that a judge might appoint a public defender, who then has to go to another case, so they have to wait till the next hearing to appoint another one. There could be months in between hearings without any contact with a lawyer. This is a point which separates those who have money from those who depend on the legal system. People fall through cracks every day.

    And I know that in our jail system in Tennessee "suicide watch" is a joke. We've had several men manage to commit suicide right in front of people by hanging themselves with bedsheets that are supposed to be suicide-proof. It's beyond belief, and what you read about is only the tip of the iceberg.
     
  18. gxm

    gxm New Member

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    I worked with a man once who told us all his own chilling story. At one time, he had worked in NYC, and one day collapsed on the street (a stroke). The law/procedure at that time (not sure if it's still the case) mandated that the ambulance take emergency patients to the nearest hospital. Well, the nearest hospital just happened to be at a corrections facility. When he came to, he was in a prison hospital ward! He said, IIRC, that it took him over a week to get out after finally convincing one of the doctors that he really wasn't an inmate. And, all the while, his sister was looking for him. We thought he was pulling our leg, but he swore up and down it was a true story.

    Scary, isn't it? Still gives me goosebumps.
     
  19. legalmania

    legalmania Verified Paralegal

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    There was a story that broke in Florida years ago. They were mixing the mentally ill with the criminals. It was pitiful to see these men walking in circles talking to themselves, banging their heads on the cell until they bled. It didn't take a psychiatrist to see they were mentally ill. Here are some of the statistics showing the number of mentally ill locked up in prison, when they should be housed in a mental institution. I'm glad when I see suits like this because it forces the prison system to look into the treatment of their prisoners.

    In Florida, mentally ill individuals in jail and prison outnumber those in state mental hospitals by nearly five to one. Minimum care for one mentally ill person for one year in a Florida jail costs $40,000; one year in a state prison cell costs over $60,000 per mentally ill inmate, while intensive community mental health treatment for an individual costs approximately $20,000 per year. (7)

    http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/menbrief.html
     
  20. ThoughtFox

    ThoughtFox Expecting the Unexpected

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    That happens here in Tennessee too. It's a scandal and the legislature is doing zero to change it even though plenty of people see what is happening.

    Mentally Ill Fall Through Cracks:
    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/apr/17/mentally-ill-fall-through-cracks/?print
     

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