U.S. appeals court rules in favor of Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A federal lawsuit against the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office claiming jail deputies used excessive force on an inmate was dismissed Tuesday by a United States Court of Appeals.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled in favor of Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario in the case of Adam Burke. The case was dismissed by 10th Circuit Court Judge Lewis Babcock in July 2009.
The decision was upheld Tuesday by circuit court Judges Carlos Lucero, John Porfilio and Michael Murphy.
Burke appealed the decision regarding two incidents in which he felt that his civil rights were violated while incarcerated at the jail.
Burke filed the lawsuit in January 2007 claiming he was subjected to inappropriately long hours in a restraint chair after being shot with pellets that release a chemical similar to pepper spray.
A press release issued by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office stated that in both district and appellate court, the judges determined his generally stated and delinquent grievances – submitted several months after the alleged incidents – showed Burke’s failure to exhaust all available administrative remedies as required by law.
The statement goes on to say that the judges further ruled Burke’s complaints did not substantively constitute a proper grievance in that there was not a specific reference to the incident dates or factual circumstances.
A statement released by the Sheriff’s Office stated, “Every similar lawsuit that has been ruled upon has been dismissed. Sheriff Vallario and his staff have never been held liable for any wrongdoing in the operation of the county jail due to their consistent application of all respective regulations and policies.”
Burke is currently incarcerated in the state Department of Corrections for unrelated charges.
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