Nashville Woman Wins Labor Shackling Ruling, Seeks Damages


Juana Villegas of Nashville is seeking damages from a federal jury for her shackling in the Davidson County Jail while giving birth, The Tennessean reports. She told a jury, “I feared for my child” because she was shackled and handcuffed by jail deputies while she went into labor. Villegas said she has suffered emotional and physical pain since she gave birth to Gael in 2008.

Villegas, who was in the U.S. illegally, was arrested during a traffic stop and detained under a sheriff's office immigration program while she was nine months pregnant. U.S. District Judge William Haynes Jr. ruled that the sheriff’s office violated her rights when it shackled her during labor and denied her a breast pump after Gael was born. A jury this week is expected to decide how much money — if any — she should receive for future treatment and pain and suffering. A defense lawyer for the sheriff argues that Villegas' anguish was not from the shackling but because she was under the threat of deportation.

This month, The Crime Report published an update on shackling policies nationwide.

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