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Judge: Lawsuit by deaf inmate can go forward against sheriff

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A deaf man can go forward with his lawsuit against Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur after a federal judge said the allegations, if true, would amount to a serious violation of his constitutional rights.

Abreham Zemedagegehu (zeh-MAY'-deh-geh-GAY'-hoo) sued the sheriff in federal court in Alexandria earlier this year. He said the jail failed to provide a sign-language interpreter during a six-week pretrial stay. As a result, Zemedagegehu said was subject to forced medical procedures without his consent and spent the first two days in jail unsure why he had been arrested.

The sheriff had argued that she was immune from lawsuit.

The judge, in a ruling last week, did dismiss Zemedagegehu's allegations against state corrections officials. The judge said state officials play no role in operating a county jail.

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