5th Cir. Rules Inmate Can Sue Officials for Rape

Roderick Johnson, whom we've written about a few times, won a big round in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court upheld his right to sue seven prison officials for the rapes he says he was subjected to on a daily basis while in prison.

a unanimous federal appeals court has ruled that seven ranking Texas prison officials can be sued for damages due to discrimination based on sexual orientation. The ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a gay man who was repeatedly raped by prison gangs and whose pleas for help were ignored by officials.

The Court ruled:

"We conclude that Johnson's grievances were sufficient to give prison officials fair notice that there might have been a sexual orientation-related aspect to Johnson's problem," the judges wrote in the ruling. Judges, citing a 1994 Supreme Court decision that officials have a duty to protect inmates from violent prisoners, also ruled that the case can proceed under the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

< Free Speech Takes a Hit in Colorado | Inmate Denied Water, Almost Dies >
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