Pro Bono Referrals of City Jail Use of Force Cases

In addition to representing prisoners who have been injured by excessive force by jail staff, PRP refers cases through Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Practice to firms for pro bono representation. Those that are currently pending or recently settled include:

Emmanuel Coleman, who alleged that he was beaten after an exchange of words with jail officers, and who sustained a broken nose and loss of consciousness among other injuries; his complaint was recently filed by attorneys from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.

Godwin Lowe, who alleged that he was picked out randomly for a “show beating” after an inmate-inmate fight in which he had not been involved, and that he was kicked and struck with a baton, then carried out of the housing area and was hit again with a baton. He sustained head lacerations requiring suturing. He was represented by Paul Weiss, who settled the case for him for $63,000 in early 2009.

Jesus Vega, who alleged that he was struck in the face with a baton by a jail captain; he was represented by O’Melveny & Myers, who obtained a substantial settlement for him.

Julio Melecio, who alleged that in one incident he was struck with a radio and punched about the face and body by jail staff, resulting in an occipital laceration among other injuries; in a second incident, he sustained a facial laceration requiring sutures to repair. Both incidents allegedly occurred when officers entered his cell in a punitive segregation unit. He was represented by O’Melveny & Myers, and the case was settled for $70,000 in early 2009.

Carlos Perez, who alleged that he was punched in the face by a ranking correctional supervisor after an argument with another staff member. He sustained a nasal fracture and a broken tooth among other injuries. He was represented by Proskauer Rose, LLP, who settled his case for a substantial award.

Darren Gholson, whose nose was broken at the Vernon C. Bain Center (the jail barge anchored off the Bronx) after he protested the length of time it was taking to get him from the intake area to a cell. He alleges that he was told by the intake supervisor that he should report the injury as having been inflicted by another prisoner. He was represented by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP, who settled the case for a substantial award of damages.

Ali Baxter, who alleged that he was beaten on New Year’s Eve, 2008, and suffered facial injuries and a separated shoulder that required surgery. He is represented by Simpson Thatcher, which filed suit on his behalf in December 2009.