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7th Circuit: Minimal Use of Force Not an Eighth Amendment Violation

Wisconsin prisoner Juan Guitron alleged that a prison guard bent and injured his wrist. Following a preliminary screening required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the district court dismissed the complaint and the 7th Circuit affirmed.

While prison guards Michael Paul and Bradley Mlodzik escorted Guitron to segregation, they saw other prisoners in the hall and ordered Guitron to get against the wall. When Guitron verbally objected, Paul twisted Guitron's wrist and slammed him against the wall. In the segregation cellblock, Guitron realized his wrist had swollen and the pain eventually lasted two months. Guitron alleged the cruel and unusual punishment violated his 8th Amendment rights.

The district court dismissed the claim because the prison guards, in the course of a prison security measure, used a reasonable degree of force authorized or applied for security purpose. In the instant case, Paul only used force when Guitron disobeyed a command that was designed to maintain order within the prison. Paul acted in good faith rather than maliciously or sadistically to inflict pain. In Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7 (1992), the court ruled that minimal force is not actionable. Therefore, the 7th Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. See: Guitron v. Paul, 675 F.3d 1044 (7th Cir. 2012).

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Related legal case

Guitron v. Paul