Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$200,000 Settlement in Florida Prisoner’s Suicide Death

Florida’s Department of Corrections paid $200,000 to settle a lawsuit involving a prisoner’s suicide death. That settlement is the maximum allowed under law when suing a state agency.

Prior to his entry into prison, prisoner David Hansen had a history of mental illness, which included suicide attempts. His transition into prison was rough, and it became rougher when he became known as a “snitch.”

Guards were aware of that label, which led to Hansen being severely beaten on January 18, 2005. While the beating was severe enough to result in hospitalization, the assailant was not prosecuted despite the incident being caught on videotape.

Hansen’s condition worsened after that incident, as the confines of disciplinary confinement affected him and resulted in placement on close management transfer to Florida State Prison (FSP). His mental health treatment became less intensive at FSP.

What became more intensive was the attitude others took towards Hansen. Guard Archie Crews told Sgt. Veal on August 20, 2006, that he had put a contract out on Hansen for another prisoner to “shank” him because he felt “Hansen should not be permitted to get out of prison.”

Hansen did not reach his release date of December 19, 2006, for he was found hanging by a bed sheet in his cell on October 17, 2006. Shortly before his death, Hansen told guard Timothy Fowler and Sgt. Travis Baird that he felt like killing himself. They ignored him. At least one of the required 30 minute cell checks was not conducted; the record, however, was falsified by guard Dean Hardin to reflect it did occur.

The estate for Hansen settled the matter on February 5, 2009. It was represented by Gainesville attorney Terrence J. Kann. See: Hansen v. Florida Department of Corrections, U.S.D.C. (M.D. Fla.), Case no. 3:08-cv-01007.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Hansen v. Florida Department of Corrections

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.