Nashville Jury Returns $200,000 Verdict In Inmate Labor Shackling


It took a Nashville jury less than an hour yesterday to decide that Juana Villegas deserved $200,000 for having her rights violated by the Davidson County Sheriff's Office when deputies shackled her during labor. The Tennessean reports. It was far less than the $1.2 million Villegas' attorneys wanted. Sheriff Daron Hall was unimpressed and said his office planned to appeal, “whether it was a dollar or a million dollars.”

The case brought nationwide criticism of the way Nashville treats immigrants and incarcerated women. It changed the way the sheriff's office handles pregnant inmates. And it drew negative attention to Metro's legal team, whose decisions and conduct were questioned not only by the presiding judge but also by other attorneys and at least one Metro councilman. The case already has led to change. “This case as it has been portrayed does not represent what Nashville is about,” said Mayor Karl Dean. “The sheriff's office has already changed its policy regarding pregnant inmates. [ ] They are never restrained unless they are likely to harm themselves or others. That was the right thing to do.”

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