Inmate Sues State, Wins $300k, Then State Takes Out Incarceration Cost
Hartford, CT – A state prison inmate has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Connecticut because the state used a portion of his civil rights violation payout to cover the inmate’s incarceration expenses.
The state has also frozen the inmate’s trust account, and expressed intent to seek an additional $50,000 to pay for the convicted felon’s public defender and other expenses, the Associated Press reported.
Rashad Williams, 42, was convicted of attempted murder, assault, and various other offenses in 2004, after he attempted to rob a carwash.
He engaged in a gunfight with his intended victims, resulting in his accomplice being killed. One of the victims was also injured.
While incarcerated at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut in 2010, Williams objected to being housed with a violent gang member. However, prison officials did not grant Williams his request to have the gang member housed elsewhere.
Court documents said that when corrections officers removed the gang member’s handcuffs, he assaulted Williams, who was still in handcuffs, according to the Associated Press.
Williams sustained injuries to his knee, head, ankle, and back.
He proceeded to file a federal lawsuit against the prison, and a jury decided that Connecticut Department of Correction Captain Dennis Marinelli had violated Williams’ civil rights by placing the gang member in his cell.
Williams was awarded $300,000.
Like most states, Connecticut allows inmates to be charged for costs associated with their imprisonment. Up to half of inmates’ settlements, legal awards, and certain property can also be seized, the Associated Press reported.
"The State has gone to significant lengths to attempt to reduce its liability and to deny Mr. Williams full compensation for his damages," Williams’ attorney, J. Tyler Butts said in a court document, according to the Associated Press.
The state has argued that Williams cannot legally seek the balance of the payout award, and said that it has not waived its immunity from Williams’ lawsuit.
Butts contended that federal law superseded state law, and that the remainder of Williams’ settlement should be shielded from state officials.
Williams’ request was being considered by a judge in Hartford, the Associated Press reported.