Warning: Graphic descriptions below. Shame on the these people who are supposed to protect us.
Detention officers hit with $855K judgment in abuse lawsuit
Jul. 19, 2010 01:26 PM
The Arizona Republic
A Phoenix-area man accused – and later won acquittal – of murdering his infant son in 2003 won a second legal battle this month when a jury found two Maricopa County Sheriff’s detention officers guilty of abuse and awarded him $855,000 in civil damages.
Delano Yanes, of Peoria, was charged with killing and sodomizing his infant son in 2003. On the night he was booked into Maricopa County Jail, he was beaten by detention officers John Noble and Santos Hernandez, who in turn accused Yanes of assaulting them.
On Friday, a Superior Court civil jury found Noble and Hernandez liable for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil rights violations.
In September 2003, Yanes was home alone with his 11-month-old son when the child stopped breathing. He and an Arizona Public Service Co. worker tried to revive the baby with CPR, but the child died.
The child’s heart had ruptured – possibly from the CPR – and his diaper was filled with feces and blood. Prosecutors theorized that Yanes had sodomized the baby and the baby’s heart exploded from the trauma.
Yanes was arrested at his son’s viewing by Peoria police and taken to the Madison Street Jail.
There, he claimed, as he was being escorted to his cell by Noble, he was told to grab a roll of toilet paper – and from that moment, two different stories emerged.
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Noble and Hernandez claimed that Yanes pushed Noble into a wall, bruising his forehead. Yanes claimed he turned around and “a black glove was headed toward my face,” knocking him out. “I woke up in a pool of blood,” he said in a court deposition. There was a foot in the center of his back holding him down.
Yanes was taken to Maricopa County Medical Center with his eye swollen shut.
He went to trial on the murder charge in January 2006. After listening to contradictory medical testimony about whether the child’s anus was bruised, the jury acquitted Yanes.
The Sheriff’s Office accused Yanes of aggravated assault on the deputies, but those charges were subsequently dropped.
Yanes filed suit against Noble, Hernandez and the Sheriff’s Office in September 2007. It was legally too late to file a complaint for assault, and so he filed instead for malicious prosecution, alleging that they had filed false reports.
Trial began June 30. Among the evidence presented was a video of an altercation between Noble and another jail inmate.
On July 16, the jury found in favor of Yanes. It determined that Noble was 60 percent responsible for the incident and Hernandez 40 percent. And they awarded $650,000 in compensatory damages and $205,000 in punitive damages.
“Every once in a while you get an aberrational jury,” said MCSO Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre. “That’s why we have a court of appeals to straighten these aberrations out.”
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/peoria/articles/2010/07/19/20100719sheriff-arpaio-detention-officers-abuse-lawsuit-brk.html