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California Prisoner Settles Claim of Cruel and Unusual Punishment

by Christopher Zoukis

A California prisoner held at Pelican Bay State Prison has agreed to settle a case in which he alleged that he had been subject to cruel and unusual punishment and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.

Daniel Treglia started a fire in his cell August 13, 2009, in order to protest the conditions of his confinement. He suffered smoke inhalation, and was treated at a local hospital. When he returned to the prison, he was placed on "contraband watch" for several days.

Contraband watch is an inhumane punishment that, according to Treglia, involved being duct taped, having to wear thick gloves, being chained at the waist, and having large plastic tubes wrapped around his arms and legs. Treglia was subject to these conditions, which caused numbness and difficulty breathing, for two and a half days. He was not provided a blanket for warmth during that time.

Treglia sued the warden and other prison officials, claiming civil rights violations and violation of the constitution. He lost his case at summary judgment, but appealed to the Ninth Circuit. During the pendency of the appeal, the parties reached a settlement, the conditions of which were unavailable, and Treglia dismissed his claim.

Case: Treglia v. Cate, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Case No. 5:10-cv-00757-LHK (January 8, 2013).


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Related legal case

Treglia v. Cate