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|2013-03-07 - Weird News|
NM county paying $15.5 million to ex-inmate left in solitary confinement for 22 months
-- Windsor Genova - Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor
Las Cruces, NM, United States (4E) - A New Mexico county is paying $15.5 million in settlement to a former inmate who was wrongfully put in solitary confinement for 22 months from 2005 to 2007.
The Dona Ana County is paying one of the largest prisoner civil rights payouts in U.S. history to Stephen Slevin, 59, for the inhumane treatment.
Slevin was arrested for DWI in August 2005 and was initially placed inside a padded jail intended for suicidal inmates. After three days, he was transferred into solitary confinement, which is for those with mental problems.
When he emerged from solitary confinement, Slevin had shaggy and overgrown hair, long beard, and pale and sunken face. His attorney showed Slevin's mugshot photo, wherein he was clean shaven, as evidence in the ensuing lawsuit filed against the county.
Slevin originally sought $22 million in damage but a federal jury reduced the amount to $15.5 million after an appeal by the county. The county's insurer will pay $6 million of the settlement.
Meanwhile, Slevin, who is suffering from lung cancer, has left New Mexico and is under the care of relatives.
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