Friday, March 25, 2011

Russellville Hit with 20 Million in Lawsuits

"...assault, battery, outrage, false imprisonment, and violation of ...civil rights"

These are the charges two Russellville attorneys plan to bring against the city and its police department--presumably Sgt. Jeremy Hall specifically. Jeffrey L. Bowling, a former attorney for the town of Russellville and a partner in Roger Bedford's law firm, and John McReynolds, an associate of the Bedford law firm, have announced their intentions to bring suit on behalf of four women who have previously been incarcerated in the Russellville City Jail. The two attorneys have indicated more suits on behalf of other plaintiffs may be added.

Hall, a sergeant with the Russellville Police Department since 2003, was placed on unpaid administrative leave on March 4th for violating internal police rules. Police Chief Chris Hargett (pictured) has indicated the charges against Hall stem from "something that we told him to fix and he didn't do it.”

Just what is Sgt. Jeremy Hall accused of? Let's look at the legal definitions...

Assault & Battery:
the combination of the two crimes of threat (assault) and actual beating (battery). They are both also intentional civil wrongs for which the party attacked may file a suit for damages.

Outrage: an act of wanton cruelty or violence; any gross violation of law or decency.

False Imprisonment: depriving someone of freedom of movement by holding a person in a confined space or by physical restraint including being locked in a car, driven about without opportunity to get out, being tied to a chair or locked in a closet. It may be the follow-up to a false arrest (holding someone in the office of a department store, for example), but more often it resembles a kidnapping with no belief or claim of a legal right to hold the person. Therefore, false imprisonment is often a crime and if proved is almost always the basis of a lawsuit for damages.

Civil Rights Violation: violation of those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, including the right to due process, equal treatment under the law of all people regarding enjoyment of life, liberty, property, and protection. Positive civil rights include the right to vote, the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a democratic society, such as equal access to public schools, recreation, transportation, public facilities, and housing, and equal and fair treatment by law enforcement and the courts.

That's quite an array of charges--what if the town of Russellville should lose these suits? We assume the town carries liability insurance, but we also assume the town has no desire to pay the resulting higher premiums or to be painted in such a light.

And what of Sgt. Hall himself? One of our sources in the police department has portrayed him as having a sterling record. Perhaps he has until now; however, if the Alabama Bureau of Investigation should find ample evidence to bring a criminal case against Hall, we hope the state attorney general's office will prosecute to the fullest extent. Yes, these four women were prisoners of the town of Russellville, but that should not reduce their humanity in anyone's eyes.


A Billion Dollar Jail

By J. J. Ray

A Billion dollar jail. That would-be a fitting end or beginning for the White Elephant, the Pride of Barton Alabama. At least if anything ever were built there, a core of employees would be in readiness.

Cheap too. I believe the wage is the same that Tee-Jays pays in Costa Rica -- .25 per hour.

Yes, an illustrious end to a Nightmare on Elm Street in Barton. Isn't genius wonderful? They even gave us a lifetime of that extra .02 per gallon of gas. What leadership there is in retirement income managing. Hey maybe they should take over Cherokee.