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Jury Awards Beaten Texas Prisoner $250,000

On December 15 1998, a federal jury in San Antonio, Texas, awarded Texas state prisoner Robert Sikes $250,000 in damages for a beating administered by prison guards. In 1995 Sikes was imprisoned in a Karnes county state prison. During a dispute with a female guard over a broken cell light, the guard hit his cell door with a baton and Sikes spat on her.

Forty five minutes later sergeant Juan Gaytan and two other guards came to Sikes' cell, handcuffed his hands behind his back and proceeded to beat him. Sikes suffered a dislocated shoulder, cuts, bruises, one eye was swollen shut and he now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gaytan was later reprimanded for improperly reporting the use of force in this incident and later resigned from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Sikes later filed suit in federal court claiming that the beating violated his Eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The court appointed San Antonio family law lawyer Per Ann Hardy to represent Sikes.

At trial, a jury found that Sikes' Eighth amendment rights had indeed been violated by the beating. The jury awarded Sikes $50,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages. The state has appealed the verdict. See: Sikes v. Gaytan, USDC - TX Court No. 95-CA- 1.300PMA.
Sources: San Antonio Express

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Related legal case

Sikes v. Gaytan

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