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Kia Franklin

Detained Man Loses Leg, Finally Gets Measure of Civil Justice

The following text comes from an announcement from Public Justice:

Moisés Carranza-Reyes, a Mexican immigrant who was never charged with a crime, sued state officials who detained him in a Colorado county jail so squalid that his leg became infected and ultimately had to be amputated. Now, with the help of Public Justice, Carranza-Reyes has reached a $1.5 million settlement in the case. The lawsuit had charged the county sheriff, jail captain, jail medical staff and others with violating Carranza-Reyes's constitutional rights to adequate medical care and sanitary housing. The suit also charged the jail's medical staff with negligence.

Carranza-Reyes is a former Mexico City police sergeant who was held by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in March 2003 in a filthy, overcrowded, and poorly heated cell block of the Park County, Colorado jail. The jail's repeated failure to provide him decent medical care resulted in an infection that cost him his leg, part of a lung, and nearly his life. Shortly after he was finally transported to Denver Health Medical Center, and shackled by his arms and gangrenous legs to the hospital bed, per jail officials' orders, Carranza-Reyes suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and fell into a coma. Doctors gave him a 2% chance to survive the night.

Public Justice's entry into the case set off a firestorm of broadcast and print media coverage, shining a light on human rights abuses that many Coloradoans never imagined would take place in their state or their country. Carranza-Reyes's lawsuit highlighted the dangers of running our country's prisons to generate revenue. The suit charged that, in its hunger for revenue, Park County starved the facility of basic human essentials: medical care, heat, clean laundry, and clean housing.

The $1.5 million settlement reached in this case will be paid by Park County's insurers. This will help bring an end to Carranza-Reyes's nightmarish ordeal.

In the fight for justice, let's hold onto this victory as a reminder of the importance of our civil justice system.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 4:14 PM, Dec 20, 2007 in Civil Justice
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