Judge throws out lawsuit based on treatment in Garfield County Jail
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A federal judge recently threw out a lawsuit against area law enforcement officials, saying the arguments in the suit failed to show that the constitutional rights of the woman involved were violated, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
The office issued a statement late on Thursday announcing that U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger issued a “summary judgment” ending the lawsuit, which was filed by Marco and Shelley Carani in November 2008.
According to news accounts at the time, Shelley Carani was arrested one year earlier after being accused of domestic violence and harassment against a co-worker of Carani’s husband, Marco. The charges were related to Marco Carani’s departure from a job with the city of Rifle, and Shelley’s contention that he was hounded improperly from his job by other city employees.
The suit alleged that the police were wrong to arrest Carani, and that when she was incarcerated in the Garfield County Jail for three days and nights, her jailers violated her constitutional rights by acting with “deliberate indifference” to her basic needs. Complaints included confining her in a cell that was too small and lack of privacy for using the toilet.
The charges against her reportedly were dropped the following week and she was released.
The federal judge on July 30 dismissed charges against all defendants, according to the sheriff’s statement. Besides Sheriff Lou Vallario and his jail commander, Scott Dawson, the defendants were the city of Rifle, Garfield County, Rifle Police Chief Daryl Meisner, three Rifle Police Department employees, Rifle City Manager John Hier and three administration employees.
The judge ruled that “none of the conditions cited by Shelley Carani, individually or in concert, constitute conditions that could be said to amount to unconstitutional punishment,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
“This episode is just one more example of an unwarranted lawsuit filed against the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office,” said the statement. “And once again, Sheriff Vallario chose to defend his actions rather than take the easy way out in cowering to plaintiffs in costly settlements.”
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