30 May 2012

Civil Rights Liability Still Broken

Because of negligence on the part of government officials and the agencies they work for, no one tells you or your jailer that you won an appeal of your criminal conviction with twenty to forty year sentence and are held in prison for another seventeen years as a "pre-trial detainee" awaiting a retrial until you bring a flawed habeas corpus petition that somehow is routed to the right person and wins your freedom.

You bring an lawsuit for a breach of your civil rights to compensate yourself for seventeen years of wrongful imprisonment. Are you entitled to relief, or even to a trial where you can present your case?

Plaintiff-Appellant Buxton Craig Heyerman was imprisoned for more than seventeen years as a pretrial detainee after a state appellate court reversed his criminal conviction and remanded the matter to the trial court. He filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants-Appellees, alleging that this lengthy detention violated his Sixth Amendment speedy-trial rights. Defendants-Appellees are not liable for the alleged constitutional violation under § 1983, however. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in their favor.
Critically, the people who wronged this formerly convicted individual did not have an intent to violate his civil rights in the sense meant by the law, and merely negligent harm or institutionally defective processes that don't meet a similarly high level of entity level intent to harm don't give rise to liability.

Once again, a takings jurisprudence in civil rights cases would get to the real essentials of the matter, and provide substantial and simple relief in what should be an easy case.

No comments: