Alton man sues Madison County over jailhouse suicide attempt -

Alton man sues Madison County over jailhouse suicide attempt

( -- Attorneys for Madison County were successful in their recent motion for a summary judgement in a federal court case where the County was being sued by an Alton, Illinois man who claimed employees at the Madison County Jail were indifferent to his risk of suicide.

The following information was provided by the Madison County press office:

U.S. District Court Chief Judge David Herndon granted the County’s motion for summary judgment in a ruling dated September 27, 2011. The plaintiff, Reginald Pittman who had filed suit against Madison County, had been in custody of the Madison County Jail as a result of an Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm charge out of Alton from August 16, 2007 to December 19, 2007 when he was found unresponsive by jailers after trying to hang himself with a blanket using the bars of his cell. Pittman survived, but suffers from brain damage.

Pittman’s lawsuit claimed that employees of the jail were deliberately indifferent to his suicide risk and did not take the appropriate steps that would have lessened that risk.

Attorneys for Madison County argued successfully that staff at the Jail followed all necessary procedures and guidelines in dealing with inmates who are/are not at risk for suicide attempts and that the plaintiffs did not meet the burden required to show that the County violated Pittman’s constitutional rights. In fact, Judge Herndon noted in his order that the “evidence demonstrates a long course of responsiveness to Pittman’s complaints. The record does not reveal that the individual defendants recklessly or intentionally disregarded a known risk of suicide.”

By granting the motion for summary judgment, the court has found that there was not enough evidence against the defendant (Madison County) for the plaintiff (Pittman) to proceed to trial.

Madison County State's Attorney Thomas D. Gibbons was satisfied with the decision handed down in federal court with the granting of the motion for summary judgment. Further, Gibbons noted, the ruling also showed that “Sheriff Robert Hertz and his staff run a first rate facility where guidelines regarding prisoner treatment are appropriately implemented.” 

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