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Missouri Jail Guard Convicted of Urinating on Prisoners, County Settles for $100,000

The recent sentence imposed on a jail guard exhibits the disparities in physical integrity to which prisoners are entitled. This is revealed upon review of the sentence the guard received for urinating on prisoners and that imposed on prisoners who throw bodily fluids on guards.

On July 29, 2001, guards Curtis Martin and Justin Hastings were making their rounds on the roof of the Greenville County Jail in Springfield, Missouri. That is when the guards urinated through a grate onto prisoners Zewayne Durley, Darryl Carter, Michael Wade, and Daren Rucker while they were playing basketball in the jail's exercise area. Both guards were fired and charged with misdemeanor assault.

Before the prisoners filed suit, the county agreed to pay $25,000 to each to settle their tort claims in December, 2001. On June 5, 2003, a jury found Hastings guilty of assault. On August 18, 2003, the court imposed a "shock sentence" that allows Hastings to avoid jail time, but he must clean toilets at the jail for 15 days. He also must serve 150 hours community service and two years probation. Martin's case is still pending.

Hastings' lawyer, Dee Wampler, was upset with the conviction because the prisoners who were urinated on were "able to wash off." Wampler complained, "My client has not yet been able to wash off what happened to him." Prior to sentencing, the trial judge told Hastings, "you can make a terrible, terrible decision, but it is not the end of your life."

As is revealed by recent sentences of 20 years to life, it can be the end of your life if you are a prisoner throwing bodily fluids on guards. See accompany article Feces Flinging Prisoners Receive Lengthy Sentences on page 11. The hypocritical double standard is that feces and urine wash off prisoners easily, but not government employees.

Sources:; Springfield News-Leader.

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