Steven Slevin, a mentally ill New Mexico man arrested in 2005 for allegedly driving drunk in a stolen car, was held in solitary confinement for two years without a hearing or trial, and without any medical or dental care. He had to pull his own tooth out at one point, he got bedsores and fungal infections, and his nails and hair grew very long. Eventually, he got lung cancer as well.
Slevin was never charged with a crime, and never tried. But he still lingered in solitary confinement for years, ignored. Perhaps his jailers were merely waiting for him to die, so they could cremate him and dump his ashes in a pauper’s grave. That way he would be far cheaper to the county, after all. No defense attorney, no welfare, no housing and no medical treatment — just lock him up and shove prison food through a hole every day. Probably saved the county a couple hundred thousand dollars or so.
Slevin’s settlement – 15 million dollars – was huge, but I still think the county got a break, and he’ll be dead soon from his terminal cancer anyway. I’ll bet if someone dug into this case, they’d find others just like it. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see that this was policy.
By paying off Mr. Slevin, probably largely with insurance, real criminals who denied a man liberty and due process are getting off the hook. The settlement itself is a travesty of justice. I cannot believe that this was a mere “oversight” — someone was deliberately doing this to men.
Look at the county’s position:
The county had recently offered to settle the case for $2million, according to CNN, despite previously denying there was a lack of medical care and that, as government employees, county officials deserved immunity from liability.
So now government employees and county officials should have “immunity” when they capriciously destroy men’s lives? What kind of country are we living in? One set of rules for us, and another for our masters…