EDGAR CO. - Another black eye to Edgar County under the watch of former Sheriff Tim Crippes.
"After a 4 day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of the strip search in favor of plaintiff Angelina Cianfaglione and against:
Dee Burgin for $15,000 compensatory damages and $20,000 punitive damages
Terry Rogers for $15,000 compensatory damages and $20,000 punitive damages.
Total awarded to plaintiff was $70,000.
Defendants Wilson and Weger were dismissed from the case after evidence was heard.
Rogers and Burgin made a motion under rule 50 asking for qualified immunity.
Plaintiff still considering options to challenge the Weger verdict.
Judge's decision on the rule 50 motion is expected within 30 days."
It appears the jury instructions spell out a very key element in this case that may well be the reason the ruling went the way it did.
"The Law regards the strip search of an arrestee brought to a jail facility on a minor charge to be unreasonable unless the officer directing the search had "reasonable suspicion" that the arrestee was carrying or concealing weapons or other contraband"
Very next line from the Judge reads as follows:
"I instruct you as a matter of law that the offense for which the plaintiff was charged was a minor charge."
With a ruling for the plaintiff it appears pretty clear the defendants failed to articulate specific facts to support reasonable suspicion.
Anyone see a pattern in this county?
The defendant's attorney did agree that a canine alert alone is not reasonable suspicion for a strip search. This was in answer to a question from the jury.