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How to Defend Yourself against Correctional Officer Excessive Use of Force

This content about Correctional Officer Excessive Use of Force was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

Correctional officers are in charge of several supervising tasks on inmates in penitentiary facilities. We expect them to follow strict codes when dealing with convicts and limit to guarding, keeping order, searching, and reporting for unusual conduct. However, correctional officer excessive use of force does happen.

Correctional officers who administer extrajudicial punishment on imprisoned individuals are violating the basic human rights of the inmates to physical and psychological safety.

If you or a family member have been subjected to excessive use of force by a correctional officer in the State of California, you should know that they can be sued and face separation from their duties if found guilty or even criminal charges.

What constitutes correctional officer excessive use of force?

The following situations can be considered excessive use of force by a correctional officer. The applicable law will determine whether an officer has incurred in it and will face charges:

  • Whenever any corrective measure was not taken in good faith to maintain or restore discipline, but maliciously or sadistically to cause harm and is not deemed De Minimis (minor). Permanent or debilitating injury constitutes a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
  • Whenever the officer applies retaliatory violence
  • When undue actions on an inmate are recurrent
  • When correctional officers deliberately leave an inmate’s petition unattended (i.e., ignore their request for health care, especially after physical violence). An officer’s supervisor is, in this case, susceptible to the “deliberate indifference” standard if they are aware of the incorrect behavior and fail to notice it or stop it.
  • Using chemicals of any kind as punishment.

What to do if you have suffered from correctional officer excessive use of force

If any of the above descriptions apply to you, you can sue individual officers, their employers, or the county for the physical or psychological damage you may have suffered as a consequence.

Typically, the deadline (statute of limitations) is two years to file for a federal lawsuit and six months for a state law claim. Keep this in mind to get timely legal aid to file a lawsuit within the expected timeframe.

Another detail to keep in mind is that inmates must prove they have exhausted other administrative procedures before finally filing in court to comply with the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Otherwise, your case might be dismissed by the court.

Get legal aid for correctional officer excessive use of force

No one, regardless of the crime they have committed, whether convicted or in pretrial, should be the victim of excessive force by a correctional officer of any rank. The culture of police brutality must be discouraged by using the law to claim your rights as a citizen, even under imprisonment. Get legal advice with experienced attorneys as soon as you can.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about Correctional Officer Excessive Use of Force was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.