Woman not ‘deprived’ in jail stay; judge tosses lawsuit

A federal judge in Denver has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a Rifle woman who claimed her constitutional rights were violated during a weekend stay in the Garfield County Jail three years ago.

Shelley Carani was arrested by Rifle police in November 2007 on domestic-violence charges, and she was in jail for three nights until the charges were dropped.

She sued Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, then-Jail Cmdr. Scott Dawson and other public officials, alleging her confinement constituted cruel and unusual punishment and deprived her of due process of law. The lawsuit claimed the jail’s food was bad, the cell was overcrowded, Carani didn’t have the opportunity to shower and had no privacy using the bathroom, she couldn’t smoke, she had to remain barefoot in the cell, she hurt her back by being forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor, and she didn’t promptly receive her book or medication, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger, however, ruled that none of the conditions cited by Carani amounted to “constitutional punishment” and that her incarceration “fails to rise to a constitutional deprivation, particularly in light of the very brief period she was detained.”

Krieger said similar restrictions and conditions are commonly found in jails and prisons across the country.


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