Attorney in ACLU case withdraws |

Attorney in ACLU case withdraws

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Lead counsel John Phillips for the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Sheriff Lou Vallario and the Garfield County Jail has withdrawn from the case, according to the sheriff’s office.

Vallario said he couldn’t speculate about the reasons for the withdrawal but was concerned that the action might cause delays in the case, dragging it out further.

“Basically, it means we might wind up with delays,” he said. “I want to get this thing over with and not drag it out any longer.”

It is frustrating, since many court dates had already been set and may have to be postponed while a new attorney gets up to speed on the case, he added.

Mark Silverstein, legal director for the ACLU of Colorado, didn’t return a phone message Tuesday afternoon. A media contact at the ACLU’s Denver office didn’t return a phone message. A telephone operator at the office said the case was still going forwards, but didn’t comment further. John Phillips, of the Shughart, Thomson and Kilroy law firm, also did not return a phone message. The Shughart, Thomson and Kilroy firm has offices in Missouri, Kansas, Arizona and Denver, according to its Web site.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in July last year, accuses the jail of abusing prisoners through the use of restraint chairs, pepper spray, pepper ball guns and electric shock belts, and keeping mental health care from indigent prisoners and imposing harsh discipline without due process.

The allegations were denied. Regarding the ACLU’s accusations, the jail’s actions “were taken in good faith and for legitimate reasons and did not violate any constitution or any regulatory, statutory, common law or other legal provision of any kind,” the response states.

Vallario said the lawsuit is still in the discovery phase.

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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