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CDCR Pays $12,000 to Settle California Prisoner’s Pro Se Caging Suit

As part of a settlement agreement, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agreed to pay $12,000 to prisoner Bobby James Williams to settle a lawsuit Williams filed in 2005. Williams claimed that the CDCR had violated his state and federal constitutional rights when he was placed in a stand-up holding cage for seven days. The settlement agreement represented a compromise of various disputed claims and was not an admission of liability by prison officials.

In a federal lawsuit filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages, Williams alleged that in January 2005, while housed at Salinas Valley State Prison, he was ordered out of his cell to discuss the possibility of having a cellmate – something Williams had refused to do because he believed staff had previously endangered his safety.

Once out of his cell, guards placed him in a stand-up holding cage where he remained overnight. The next day he was placed in another stand-up holding cage, where he remained for seven days without running water. Williams had to eat and sleep in the holding cage, his complaint stated, with only a plastic bag for his bodily wastes. Among other claims his lawsuit alleged cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Williams represented himself pro se during the litigation of the case and the negotiation of the settlement. See: Williams v. Hickman, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:05-cv-01649-GMS.

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Related legal case

Williams v. Hickman