Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grand Island man files civil suit against Hall County (KHAS-NE)

Grand Island man files civil suit against Hall County
Amy West
Story Created: May 25, 2011 at 6:20 PM CDT

What would you do if you were detained for days in jail without an explanation and then lost your job because of it? That's what one Nebraska man says happened to him and he's now suing Hall County.

In a letter delivered to the Hall County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning, Heriberto Sanchez's lawyer Mark Porto said Sanchez was taken into civil protective custody by the Grand Island PD after allegedly being intoxicated in January of this year.

He said Sanchez was kept at the jail for nearly 3 days without being charged with any crime.

"As a direct and proximate result of his incarceration" Porto says, "Sanchez was terminated from his employment at Swift and Company."

Sanchez is now seeking $50,000 from the county for loss of income and mental anguish.

The Hall County Board of Supervisors has filed that claim and will refer to its insurance company for an investigation. However, the allegations do have us asking what is the proper protocol for Civil Protective Custody? Are there situations that would keep somebody in that custody for two or three days?

"The reason someone is taken into civil protective custody is when we have no other place to place an intoxicated person," said Hastings Police Department Sgt. Steven Murphy.

Nebraska state statute says "civil protective custody shall be used only as long as is necessary to preserve life or to prevent injury, and under no circumstances for longer than twenty-four hours."

"You're usually talking maybe four to six hours, eight hours at the most," said Murphy.

But Porto says Sanchez was held for two and a half days.

Observers of law enforcement said an order to keep someone in CPC could come from the federal level - Immigration and Customs Enforcement could detain someone pending confirmation of citizenship.

Porto said Sanchez is a U.S. citizen and presented four forms of identification, but was told by officers that the IDs were likely fakes.

If Hall County doesn't take action or make a settlement within 6 months Sanchez could take the issue to court.

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