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Jury Awards $13,000 in Tennessee CCA False Imprisonment Suit

A Tennessee federal court awarded $13,000 to Samuel Key for civil rights violations resulting from his false imprisonment.

The case began in 1987, when Key was convicted and sentenced to prison in Georgia. During that time, a phony escape charge was made against Key. He was paroled in 1994. Thereafter, in 1995, Key was sentenced to prison in Jefferson County, Tennessee. While on parole in Tennessee, he was arrested on the phony escape charge. Even though the escape charge was proven false, his arrest was enough to have his parole in Georgia revoked. After several more years in prison in Georgia, he was again paroled only to have Tennessee revoke his parole because of the Georgia revocation. In 2001, Key, who should have been free in 1994, was still in jail. He was housed in the Hardeman County Prison, operated by Corrections Corporation of America. (CCA). The CCA warden was Larry Craven.

On June 20, 2001, Key’s petition for habeas corpus was granted by Judge Eblen in Morgan County, Tennessee. While the court ordered Key’s release, Craven refused to release Key, stating, “Judge Eblen don’t run the rednecks in Hardeman County.” On June 29, 2001, Key filed a motion to enforce the court’s order and Eblen entered a second order for Key’s release within the hour. It took Craven and CCA another day to release Key, thirteen days after the first court order.

After a four day trial, Key prevailed and was awarded $13,000 in punitive damages—$10,000 from Faye Claud, a sentencing manager, and $3,000 from Craven. Key was represented by Mary Leech and Richard Braun of Nashville. See: Key v. Corrections Corporation of America, U.S.D.C., D. Tennessee (Nashville) Case No: 3:01-CV-1269.

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Related legal case

Key v. Corrections Corporation of America