Constitutional Law

Detained Immigrant Sues Sheriff Arpaio, Claims She Was Shackled During C-Section

A detained immigrant claims in a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that she was shackled during a C-section in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Miriam Mendiola-Martinez was pregnant when she was arrested on an identity theft charge for using someone else’s identity to obtain a cleaning job at Dillard’s department store, KPHO reports. She claims in the suit that she was shackled during and after the December 2009 C-section at the Maricopa Medical Center, even though she had pain from swelling.

The suit also alleges a guard was in too much of a hurry to get Mendiola-Martinez to a court date two days after the C-section. A lawyer for Mendiola-Martinez, Joy Bertrand, told KPHO about the allegation. “The guard is in so much of a rush to remove her, he forces her to leave in only a hospital gown,” Bertrand said. “He forces her to walk out of the hospital. She’s bleeding from her surgery wound, and can’t do anything about it.”

The Tucson Citizen posted a press release announcing the suit. It states that shackling of women in labor has been eliminated by the Arizona Department of Corrections, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

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