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DeWitt County Board Member files civil rights suit against Sheriff and EMS Director –

March 16, 2015   ·   2 Comments

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DeWitt Co., IL. (ECWd) –

Terry Hoffman, DeWitt County Board Member, has filed a federal civil rights suit against DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner, Deputies Monaghan, Hardwick, and Wilford, and DeWitt County Director of Emergency Services Teresa Bennett-Hall.

Hoffman had previously spent $24,021.50 defending himself of the misdemeanor charges and was found not guilty by a jury of his peers.

This suit alleges, among other things, that the Sheriff said that new county board members “have to learn how things work” when ordering Hoffman placed in a jail cell and kept overnight. The Sheriff was a supporter of the opposing parties in the election.

The Federal Claims are:

-Violation of the First Amendment for filing the frivolous “battery” charge and the subsequent arrest and detainment in a jail cell.

-Violation of the Fourth Amendment for the arrest and detainment without probable cause.

The State Claims are:

-False Arrest and Imprisonment

-Malicious Prosecution

Relief requested includes Compensatory damages of $750,000.00 and Punitive damages of $100,000.00 – for a total of a little over $850,000.00 plus attorney fees and costs.

Complaint obtain from PACER below:

Download (PDF, 122KB)

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Thanks for exposing this type of story again on your website John and Kirk. As you’re both fully aware of, because you wrote a story about me concerning this last year on your website. I have had a similar situation with law enforcement and our justice system in Coles County Illinois for over a period of 5 years now. It’s is ongoing and has not been resolved to my satisfaction as of today’s date. The ONLY thing that has caused our local law enforcement agencies and our local justice system to stop targeting (police and judicial harassment, intimidation) me for speaking out against public corruption / criminal activity of our public servants PUBLICLY in our county of Coles is to finally move to a neighboring county since November of 2014, and since i’ve done that, these malicious prosecution caseS (disorderly conduct mostly) have ceased so far by all those involved. Most were dismissed after the preliminary hearing, but not until and after my (illegal) arrest, and incarceration in our Coles County jail, FORCED into me posting excessive bail bonds and fighting lengthy court battles, attending years of “status hearings” and then reduced finally to “plea deal” negotiations with our Coles County States Attorney Brian Bower for them for a few of these cases against me, all misdemeanor cases I might add,class C mainly. It’s obviously wrong, with no consequences for their actions so far.

    How can this happen in America you may ask…it happens everyday across America to millions of Americans. That’s a fact. Google it. It’s easily verifiable by evidence and eyewitness and their testimony.

    I tried to reach out to several well respected lawyers in Coles County for similar civil rights violations this story is about, to sue our city and county government agencies and specifically our public servants involved. None of these lawyers LOCALLY were willing to take the case on at all, and especially not on contingency like most lawyers will do if sufficient evidence is apparent supporting the allegations, obviously…especially based on the fact that I have already FOIA requested and received ALL my police records from all our local law enforcement agencies in Coles County, police incident reports with the narrative within them, call recordings/ logs from our 911 center that obviously proves my allegations against our city and county easily based on verifiable evidence from them of malicious prosecution and civil rights violations of me by them. I assume if I wasn’t just an average citizen speaking out against them and was a Coles County board member they would of took my case on contingency I suspect.

    This law enforcement harassment, intimidation and criminal activity with our public servants to those that challenge the status quo is not isolated to just a few counties in Illinois, just a few bad apples…but it’s a widespread problem, a systemic problem (criminal activities against citizens and civil rights violations against citizens with no consequences so far ) throughout our State of Illinois, and our nation. This is standard operating procedure for our law enforcement as the arm of our justice system to attempt to silence the TRUTH based on verifiable evidence from being told in public by anyone…not just me, obviously. Google it.

    If anyone has any advice for me to address this problem concerning me specifically or a name of a good lawyer that will take on a case for civil rights violations AND do it on contingency, please share that information here publicly. Because I assure you there our many many more like me who have had their civil rights violated in OUR county of Coles, and throughout OUR State of Illinois, and our nation. Thank you.

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