Inmate awarded $15.5 million for spending 22 months in solitary confinement
The left picture shows Stephen Slevin in Aug. 2005 at the time of his arrest for drunken driving. The right photo shows him in May 2007, shortly before being released. (Source AP)
A federal jury has awarded a New Mexico man $15.5 million in damages for his treatment behind bars.
Stephen Slevin was arrested for drunk driving in 2005 and was held in solitary confinement in the Dona Ana County detention center for 22 months without a trial or access to health care. The two pictures on the right illustrate how he looked when he was booked in 2005 and the condition he was in when he was released in 2007.
Slevin sued, saying he was malnourished, developed bedsores, fungus and dental problems. He said he was even forced to pull his own tooth.
Slevin was later released and the charges were dropped.
Slevin said he continues to have serious medical issues and is fighting lung cancer.
A jury originally awarded him $22 million in January 2013 for violating his constitutional rights.
Dona Ana County appealed that amount and agreed to settle for $15.5 million.