Jury to set amount of damages for shackled pregnant inmate in labor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal jury in Nashville is deciding how much money to award a woman whose rights were violated by police when she was shackled while in labor with her child.

Juana Villegas, who was nine months pregnant, was arrested on July 3, 2008 for driving without a license. While in jail, she went into labor and was taken to the hospital in restraints.

District Court Judge William Haynes ruled in April that her constitutional rights were violated when the Davidson County Sheriff's Office kept her in a leg restraint during the final stages of delivery and refused to allow her to use a breast pump after giving birth.

A trial began on Tuesday to determine what damages Villegas suffered and what amount to award her.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by W Location: S on Aug 19, 2011 at 01:18 PM
    The "Concerned Legal Citizen" is typical of comments being made by many people. Unfortunately they are mixing political retoric with legal reality. This woman had no ID and no DL. She was arrested for not driving without a DL and taken to jail. The traffic charges were dismissed but she stayed in Jail. She was never araigned or taken before a judge, She was never allowed to see a lawyer. She went into labor 2 days later and was taken to the hospital shackled. She was not allowed to call her family or a lawyer and was subjected to extreme degredation. I agree she should be held accountable for her status and past actions but there are basic standards of decency that do not allow us to treat humans worse than we would be allowed to treat animals. Our constitution does not say "rights only for citizens" We profess to want everything in accordance with the law but some select the laws they wish enforced. Ignorance abounds regarding our constitution and who has rights, they are not just for citizens. If you do not like the facts, lobby to change the constitution. By the way, this woman is the mother of 4 us citizens, her husband is a citizen and they did pay their taxes. The facts are public information. She was held in jail days after all charges were dismissed, her only crime was that she could not prove she was a citizen. Her treatment bordered on torture. Her legs were shackled tightly while she was having contractions for several hours. She was not a flight risk, it was just policy that was rigidly enforced. I for one think we should hold our country to a higher level of decency. It is easy to say "They are illegal, they have no rights" but in reality that is stupid. They have human rights just like you do. AND the jury just awarded her 250K. Her lawyers took the case pro bono so they will not get a dime.
  • by Concerned legal citizen Location: tn on Aug 16, 2011 at 09:02 PM
    She is a repeat criminal offender and a drain on the U.S. taxpayer that is here legally. How much has she paid in taxes since she has been here? (NONE= Tax evasion once again another criminal act) She has how many kids that were born here as a result of her criminal act of sneaking into the country repeatedly ILLEGALLY? Who pays for the social services i.e Food Stamps or welfare, WIC or any other government service funded by legal U.S. taxpayers that ARE here LEGALLY. What a joke! You come here illegally, burden our system, commit criminal or illegal offences, then have the nerve to believe we owe you something. How disgusting! If for some reason she is awarded some kind of monetary settlement out of this, it should be seized by the IRS for her tax evasion. Why should I or other taxpaying legal citizens have to pay for people like this? The short answer is we shouldnt! Our country is in debt. We dont have enough money for you too. The loopholes need to be shut down. and the ILLEGALS need to be sent packing!
  • by legal citizen Location: TN on Aug 16, 2011 at 08:59 PM
    What part of ILLEGAL (meaning not legal or not lawful) in illegal immigrant do you people not understand? She should not be ENTITLED to anything in the U.S., as she is not an american citizen. She had no RIGHTS as those are reserved for American citizens that are LEGALLY here in the country. Moreover she is a repeat criminal offender, First by entering the country ILLEGALLY the first time then being deported and returning once again ILLEGALLY, then driving without a license ILLEGALLY.(Did she have insurance?)


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