Plaintiffs' attorney in jail lawsuit says recent hearing should be a 'come to Jesus moment' for the county

A federal judge has granted a motion, saying the conditions at the Vigo County Jail are unconstitutional while also outlining orders in solving problems at the Vigo County Jail.

Posted: Sep 25, 2018 2:53 PM
Updated: Sep 25, 2018 10:51 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A federal judge has outlined new requirements for Vigo County leaders regarding the Vigo County Jail.

The parties involved in the lawsuit over conditions at the jail appeared in court on Friday for a hearing on a partial summary judgment. This kind of judgment can allow for disputes to be settled without a trial.

Former inmate, Jauston Huerta, and others filed the lawsuit against Sheriff Greg Ewing and other county leaders in 2016. The plaintiffs have maintained the conditions at the jail are unconstitutional, leading to injuries and other issues.

A Minute Entry filed on Monday, show the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a partial summary judgment, "...To the extent that it found that conditions at the Vigo County Jail were unconstitutional."

Magnus-Stinson ordered county leaders to prepare a timeline which details when the new jail will be operational. The defendants must file the report by October 15, 2018.

Under the order, the parties involved must also plan how to correct issues causing violations of inmates' federal rights. The documents filed on Monday state county leaders should increase staffing at the jail. The addition is expected to further the goal of increasing recreation for inmates, and improve jail staff's ability to perform medical and safety checks.

According to the documents filed on Monday, the court will soon issue an order discussing the relief available to the plaintiffs due to the conditions.

PREVIOUS STORYDOUBLE THE BEDS AND DO IT NOW: RESULTS COME IN FROM NEW JAIL STUDY

Magnus-Stinson is also requiring the entities involved to report to the court periodically on the progress of the new jail and how constitutional violations are being addressed. The first report of this kind is set for November 13. 2018 at the Federal Courthouse in Terre Haute. Sheriff Ewing, the leaders of the Vigo County Commissioners and Vigo County Council must be present.

The court notes it is relying on the Vigo County Council's approval of a Local Option Income Tax to show county officials are serious about addressing the issues at the jail.

The order notes that solving the issues at the jail is best done by local officials, but the outlined steps in the order "do not begin alleviate the problem to the court's satisfaction."

The court has the ability to appoint a three-judge panel to consider whether a prisoner release order and other measures are appropriate.

News 10 spoke with Attorney Michael Sutherlin, who is representing the inmates in the lawsuit. He told us Friday's hearing should serve as a "come to Jesus moment" for the county, that's as the federal courts have lost its patience.

"It's a sad fact that you're an economically depressed area, which is one of the factors that sort of leads to a lot of crime," said Sutherlin, "but it's not an excuse for the government to sort of duck their responsibilities."

News 10 also reached out to County Attorney Michael Wright and Sheriff Greg Ewing on Tuesday, but they were unavailable for comment.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Robinson
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 59°
Paris
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 59°
Scattered rain and mostly cloudy
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Sunday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Loogootee GBB State Finals

Image

Brycen Graber All-Time Assist Record

Image

Saturday Evening Forecast

Image

12 POINTS GROCERY STORE

Image

IL COVID-19 FIRST RESPONDER PROTECTIONS

Image

Pop up vaccine clinic

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

MARSHALL RED HILL

Image

BARR REEVE BLOOMFIELD

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1185367

Reported Deaths: 22710
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4739449351
DuPage766591194
Will64954892
Lake59408921
Kane50666716
Winnebago28319438
Madison27949454
St. Clair25391466
McHenry24290265
Champaign18079125
Peoria16880262
Sangamon16121217
McLean14581157
Tazewell13509240
Rock Island13056286
Kankakee12482189
Kendall1103785
LaSalle10786219
Macon9442185
Vermilion8557116
DeKalb8260112
Adams8003114
Williamson6794120
Whiteside5926147
Boone592171
Clinton557189
Coles519091
Grundy511363
Knox5017131
Ogle501473
Jackson460160
Effingham449269
Macoupin434779
Henry432656
Marion4262111
Livingston419876
Franklin414366
Stephenson409275
Monroe406383
Jefferson3976115
Randolph396078
Woodford367260
Morgan358676
Montgomery349268
Lee335143
Logan330753
Bureau330473
Christian330167
Fayette306452
Perry304657
Fulton285044
Iroquois277060
Jersey249346
Douglas244132
McDonough232140
Saline229747
Lawrence229624
Union218536
Shelby213734
Crawford200723
Bond190724
Cass188722
Pike168850
Clark168529
Wayne167148
Hancock167029
Warren166444
Richland163538
White160625
Jo Daviess160522
Ford158245
Washington158223
Carroll157634
Edgar154337
Moultrie149024
Clay142941
Greene137932
Johnson134712
Piatt132214
Wabash130012
Mason128241
Mercer128033
De Witt127822
Massac127133
Cumberland119218
Jasper110917
Menard10358
Marshall83815
Hamilton78815
Schuyler6775
Pulaski6705
Brown6636
Stark54022
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4491
Alexander4478
Gallatin4374
Putnam4153
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL40
Unassigned02216

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 660942

Reported Deaths: 12556
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion905601638
Lake48352874
Allen35762635
Hamilton32026396
St. Joseph29865511
Elkhart25350414
Vanderburgh21225377
Tippecanoe19977200
Johnson16319356
Porter15938269
Hendricks15801300
Clark11928180
Madison11730316
Vigo11578229
Monroe10312161
Delaware9830179
LaPorte9755196
Howard9047196
Kosciusko8549109
Bartholomew7440147
Warrick7403150
Hancock7394130
Floyd7189169
Wayne6630191
Grant6422157
Morgan6075125
Boone607288
Dubois5895111
Dearborn546866
Cass543399
Henry541793
Marshall5417104
Noble508578
Jackson464366
Shelby460190
Lawrence4179111
Gibson400881
Harrison398763
Clinton395053
Montgomery386283
DeKalb384678
Miami356763
Knox356485
Whitley348936
Huntington342376
Steuben337855
Wabash330876
Putnam329459
Ripley326861
Adams322549
Jasper315443
White297252
Jefferson294473
Daviess285396
Fayette271456
Decatur270488
Greene261280
Posey260531
Wells257674
Scott249950
Clay240844
LaGrange240770
Randolph225576
Spencer217030
Jennings214744
Washington210427
Sullivan203139
Fountain201142
Starke187951
Owen181953
Fulton178237
Jay177628
Carroll176418
Perry173235
Orange171150
Rush164322
Vermillion160242
Franklin159335
Tipton146141
Parke138815
Pike127432
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown94939
Benton91813
Crawford90313
Martin80014
Warren75513
Switzerland7537
Union67110
Ohio53211
Unassigned0431