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  1. #1
    Senior Member dragonfire's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Lehigh Acres, Fl

    Suit: Arizona authorities shackled pregnant inmate (update)

    Suit: Arizona authorities shackled pregnant inmate

    (CNN) -- A Mexican woman -- a former inmate in Maricopa County, Arizona -- claims in a lawsuit that sheriff's officers mistreated her during and after her pregnancy, including shackling her while she was in labor and after her Caesarean section.

    The federal suit filed by Miriam Mendiola-Martinez this week comes days after the U.S. Department of Justice alleged the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, engaged in a pattern of discrimination against Latinos.

    Mendiola-Martinez's suit is against the sheriff's office, Arpaio, the Maricopa Medical Center and unidentified male and female officers, doctors and nurses.

    Mendiola-Martinez, a Mexican citizen, alleges in the suit she was arrested October 23, 2009, by Scottsdale, Arizona, police, and was booked into Maricopa County's Estrella Jail on charges of identity theft. She was held without bond under Arizona law.

    According to the police report filed at the time of her arrest, Mendiola-Martinez was accused of using someone else's name, date of birth and Social Security number to obtain work. She was arrested at her place of employment, a department store, while she was vacuuming the floor.

    When arrested, she was six months' pregnant and had developed gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the suit.

    On December 10, 2009, Mendiola-Martinez pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit forgery under a plea agreement. Her sentencing was set for December 24.

    While incarcerated, in what her attorney, Joy Bertrand, called "two months of hell," Mendiola-Martinez says in the suit that she was told by jail staff she would receive a "special" pregnancy diet.

    That diet, she claims, consisted of "items such as two slices (of) cheese or ham, two slices of bread, indistinguishable cooked vegetables and occasionally a piece of fruit." She also said she was given two small cartons of milk a day and a pill that she was told was a vitamin.

    On days when she was transported to court, Mendiola-Martinez said, she was given no food during the day. In one instance, she alleges in the suit, an officer taunted her and other inmates with his food, telling them there was no food for them.

    On December 20, four days before her sentencing, Mendiola-Martinez began to have contractions, according to the suit. She was shackled at her ankles and taken to the Maricopa Medical Center, where medical personnel determined she was not in labor and returned her to the jail.

    By the following day, however, her pain had increased. "Ms. Mendiola-Martinez had been left in the jail visitation room, in extreme pain," the suit says. Guards ignored her attempts to speak to them in Spanish, so she asked an English-speaking person in the room to tell them she needed help.

    She was again taken to the Maricopa Medical Center, where she gave birth to a son via Caesarean section. She was shackled before and after the surgery, according to the suit.

    While she was recovering, a male correctional officer "insisted that she be shackled to the hospital bed," and the shackles on her feet were painful, according to the lawsuit.

    Asked about the allegations in 2010, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lt. Brian Lee said in a statement that Mendiola-Martinez "was not shackled during or directly after her medical procedure. After the procedure, she did have a soft restraint attached on one leg to her bed to prevent escape."

    Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman Justin Griffin referred to the earlier statement when asked about the suit.

    Lee said Mendiola-Martinez was treated the way any other inmate would be while receiving treatment "in an unsecured facility. Although she was being held on a Class Three felony, MCSO would have treated other inmates in the same manner."

    Mendiola-Martinez was not initially shackled, thanks to a "guardian angel" guard, Bertrand said, but "she has her C-section, the guards change and this new guard comes in as she's recovering from this major surgery and insists on shackling her to the bed."

    "It's incredibly painful, it's incredibly dangerous because now she can't move around, she can't avoid clotting, and he refuses to take the shackle off," Bertrand said.

    Mendiola-Martinez was not allowed to hold or nurse her baby, the suit alleges.

    She was discharged on December 23, but was not given a wheelchair to leave the hospital, the suit says. "Wearing only a hospital gown, Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was forced to walk through the hospital with her hands and feet shackled," according to the suit. Meanwhile, she began to bleed, the suit says.

    A nurse "scolded" the corrections officer for taking her "so quickly and without Ms. Mendiola receiving her pain medication or discharge paperwork," so she was again chained and forced to walk back to the nurse's station, according to the suit.

    "Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was in so much pain she could hardly walk," the suit says. "Shackled at her hands and ankles, with a bleeding surgery wound, Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was returned to the Estrella jail." She spent the nights following her discharge "in pain and crying," the suit says.

    Maricopa County Medical Center spokesman Michael Murphy, asked about shackling inmates in labor, said hospital staff defers to law enforcement, according to the suit.

    Hospital spokeswoman Judy Cane declined comment on the matter Wednesday.

    "I'd like to think that any woman held in that jail is going to be treated with respect and dignity," Bertrand said.
    Mendiola-Martinez declined to be interviewed, saying she fears retaliation by the sheriff's office.

    International standards say using restraints on pregnant women "is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and given medical or other factors impeding pregnant or birthing women from attempting escape or becoming violent, the presumption must be that no restraints should be applied," the suit says. "A woman's privacy and dignity must be respected during labor and birth."

    International standards also say a pregnant woman in her third trimester should not be restrained while being transported, and efforts should be made "to afford the mother reasonable access to the baby without impeding her movements by restraints," according to the suit.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association oppose the shackling of women in labor or after delivery, the suit says. The Arizona Department of Corrections, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have all eliminated the practice.

    The suit claims officers violated Mendiola-Martinez's rights, including her right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment.

    Hospital staffers' deferring to law enforcement officers regarding the shackling of women in labor and after delivery also "demonstrates an ongoing policy of deliberate indifference to Ms. Mendiola-Martinez's serious medical needs," according to the suit.

    It also alleges that a U.S. citizen in a similar situation would be less likely to be shackled.

    "Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was subject to a lower standard of medical care -- and a higher degree of danger to her and (her) fetus -- than similarly-situated women who are United States citizens," the suit says.

    "This disparate treatment is consistent with the findings of the United States Department of Justice regarding the systemic bias towards Latinos demonstrated by Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office."

    Arpaio is known as "America's toughest sheriff" for his stance against illegal immigration. He and his attorneys last week condemned the Justice Department civil rights investigation as politically motivated and a "witch hunt."

    Mendiola-Martinez seeks a jury trial and damages in the suit.
    Last edited by Jean; 01-25-2014 at 12:08 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nomas's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    NC and Canada. Got a foot in both worlds
    WHY is she still in the US? After the smear job Holder and Co. did on Sheriff Joe I'm afraid we're going to see all kinds of suing going on. I have another awful thought or two, but I ain't putting them in writing... I don't want to jinx AZ and Sheriff Joe.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
    Mendiola-Martinez was not initially shackled, thanks to a "guardian angel" guard, Bertrand said, but "she has her C-section, the guards change and this new guard comes in as she's recovering from this major surgery and insists on shackling her to the bed."

    "It's incredibly painful, it's incredibly dangerous because now she can't move around, she can't avoid clotting, and he refuses to take the shackle off," Bertrand said.
    DUMB ASS! After you have a C-section you are not supposed to sit up or get up and walk around right away because you will get one heck of a gigantic headache!!!

    Mendiola-Martinez seeks a jury trial and damages in the suit
    Another GREEDY illegal here to game the system. I'll bet dollars to donuts that most of what she alleges is a BIG FAT LIE just like her fake id was! She got her healthy anchor baby and a C-section that most likely saved her or her baby's life that she didn't have to pay for. I'm sure she'll use the baby for more tax payer benefits that will go into her pocket. Grrrr!

  4. #4
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Pregnant Inmate Who Was Shackled in County Jail Loses Lawsuit Against Sheriff Arpaio

    By Ray Stern Fri., Jan. 24 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who was shackled during her pregnancy after an arrest, has lost her lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    U.S. District Judge David Campbell has ruled that Mendiola-Martinez was indeed restrained at times before and just after giving birth in 2009 but that her treatment in jail did not result in a violation of rights.

    The case drew national headlines in 2009 and seemed to be another example of Arpaio's office's discriminating against Hispanics -- an offense for which he later was found responsible both in a different federal lawsuit and by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Mendiola-Martinez was arrested by Scottsdale police for document fraud. Six years earlier, she'd bought bogus identification on the black market to obtain her job at Dillard's. At the time of her arrest, she already had two kids who were born in the United States.

    After the bust, the diminutive woman, who was six months pregnant, was taken to the county's Estrella Jail to await trial. She later complained that she'd been shackled and handcuffed while being transported between the jail and the Maricopa Integrated Health Services hospital with labor pains over two days in December.

    After her second arrival to the hospital, on December 21, 2009, doctors performed a C-section and a son, Angel, was born. The woman wasn't restrained during the operation, but a "tether" was affixed to her leg after the surgery. A deputy loosened the leg restraint at one point after she complained it was too tight.

    She was allowed two visits with the newborn before her sister-in-law took him home from the jail.

    "She contends that two days after delivering her child, while 'still bleeding from her delivery,' she was 'bound at her hands and ankles' and 'forced to walk through the hospital,' where she was then 'chained to other prisoners for 'transport back to jail,'" Campbell wrote in his ruling. But she didn't allege that she or her baby were harmed by the alleged treatment.

    Mendiola-Martinez sued the Sheriff's Office and other county agencies for "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs," cruel and unusual punishment, and other alleged violations.

    Her suit notes that the "Arizona Department of Corrections and the United States Bureau of Prisons had ended the practice of restraining pregnant inmates years earlier."

    The judge wrote that the rules of the state and federal agencies don't apply, legally, to the county. And the county, he mentioned, argued that "restraining pregnant inmates during transport remained routine practice in almost every prison and jail in the United States."

    With no constitutional violation, the case lacks a "genuine issue of material fact," Campbell wrote.

    The suit likened the case to two past incidents in other states involving shackled, pregnant inmates, Campbell said the women in those cases "were restrained to a greater extent" than Mendiola-Martinez, who had only a "tether restraint" attached to a leg after Angel was born.

    The judge also rejected her claim that she'd suffered from an inadequate diet in prison. In fact, Campbell found, she'd been given a "regular diet, supplemented with additional milk and a prenatal vitamin."

    Further, he found that an inmate's rumbling stomach isn't such a big deal: "That she was hungry while in jail does not establish deliberate indifference on the part of the County Defendants."

    Of course, Mendiola-Martinez probably wouldn't have been held in jail before her trial if not for the Arizona Bailable Offenses Act, which was approved by voters in 2006. As she maintains in her lawsuit, if that for that law, she would have been able to post bond for the relatively minor offense of securing her employment with bogus documents. Yet, as Campbell found, neither the county nor Sheriff Arpaio were responsible for that law. (The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court, we should mention, recently signaled that it would review the constitutionality of the 2006 law.)

    Campbell's order granted summary judgment to the Maricopa County Special Health Care District and other county defendants, and terminated the lawsuit.

    Though Mendiola-Martinez lost her lawsuit, she still lives and works in the United States. New Times requested a statement about her status from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau. Here's what the agency said in reply:

    "Ms. Mendiola-Martinez, who was convicted in 2009 for felony solicitation to commit forgery, is not in ICE custody. Her case is pending before the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review."

    "ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminal aliens, recent border crossers and immigration fugitives who have failed to comply with final orders of removal issued by the nation's immigration courts. ICE exercises prosecutorial discretion on a base-by-case basis, considering the totality of the circumstances in an individual case. Please refer to ICE Director John Morton's memorandum on the agency's website for more specificity on the factors ICE weighs in making such determinations."

    UPDATE: 1:30pm -- Joy Bertrand, one of Mendiola-Martinez's lawyers, says Campbell's decision will be appealed.

    "She's very disappointed with the judge's ruling, but it's not the end of the world," Bertrand says of her client. The "barbaric" practice of shackling pregnant and postpartum inmates needs to be banned, she says, and she hopes the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court will agree when it gets the case.

    Bertrand notes that Mendiola-Martinez spent about three months in jail and was sentenced to time served after conviction. These days, the mother of three is working in a different job with temporary permission from immigration authorities.
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  5. #5
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    May 2006
    "She contends that two days after delivering her child, while 'still bleeding from her delivery,' she was 'bound at her hands and ankles' and 'forced to walk through the hospital,'

    The part about the illegal still bleeding after delivery was a hoot. All women will have a flow after having a baby. The fluid that surrounded the baby before it was born has to go somewhere. After I had a C-section I walked through the hospital too as most women do. Walking is good for you after you've had a major operation.

    Notice at the link in the picture the illegal is in a wheelchair and her arm looks like it's bandaged. Bet it's all for show or for another lawsuit she has going on to get rich quick.

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