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Seventh Circuit Upholds Rejection of Excessive Force Claim

On August 28, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a jury’s verdict rejecting a prisoner’s claim of excessive force.

Oscar Cruz, a prisoner at Pendleton Correctional Facility, alleged that John Safford, a guard at Pendleton, had reached into his cell and choked him in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Safford denied ever touching Cruz.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of Safford. Cruz appealed, arguing that the district court erred in refusing to let him amend his complaint to add a state law battery claim, and for restricting his cross-examination of Safford.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Cruz sought to amend his complaint too late, and that the district court properly exercised its discretion in refusing to permit cross-examination based on Safford’s eight arrests for conduct he was acquitted of. See: Cruz v. Safford, 579 F.3d 840 (7th Cir. 2009)

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Related legal case

Cruz v. Safford