Friday, April 29, 2011

Constitutional Victory For Shackled Pregnant Mom

"The Court applies Hope, Women Prisoners at D.C., Nelson and Brawley and the undisputed facts to conclude that Defendants' shackling of Plaintiff during the final stages of her active labor and her post-partum recovery, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, given Plaintiffs serious medical condition and the Defendants' indifference to that condition by shackling her during these time periods. The medical proof demonstrates that such shackling was medically necessary and caused unnecessary physical and mental suffering. In addition, under Boretti and Byrd, the Court concludes that Defendants' denial of the breast pump that the MGH provided for Plaintiffs medical care also constitutes deliberate indifference under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments as denial and interference with care prescribed by a health care provider. The Court concludes that the Defendants' shackling of Plaintiff in the final stages of her pregnancy and post-partum recovery as well as the denial of the prescribed breast pump, constitute punishment under the Due Process Clause that is also prohibited under Bell. 441 U.S. at 535. ("[U]nder the Due Process Clause, a detainee may not be punished prior to an adjudication in accordance with due process law). ... Thus, in addition to the cited judicial decisions, this Court further concludes that these medical publications, convention rules, social studies and standards also establish that the shackling of a pregnant detainee in the final stages of labor shortly before birth and during the post-partum recovery, violates the Eighth Amendment's standard of contemporary decency."

Villegas v. Metro. Govt. et al, Case 3:09-cv-00219, Document 113, Filed 04/27/11, M.D. Tenn., Nashville Dist.

Hats off to Elliott Ozment!  Here's the story in the Tennessean.

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