Appeals Court Reinstates Suit Against Jail Officials

Appeals Court Reinstates Suit Against Jail Officials

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SA'T LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal appeals court has reinstated the suit filed by a prison inmate who contends jail officials failed twice to prevent prisoners from beating him.

Jerry William Dickey, who is serving a prison sentence of one to 15 years for manslaughter, claims he was beaten by other prisoners on Oct. 16, 1995, and April 30, 1996, while being held in the Salt Lake County Jail.

His suit, filed in 1997, alleged that jail officials violated his civil rights by showing deliberate indifference for his safety. The officials denied the allegations.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the defendants never filed a required motion for summary judgment and overturned a decision that threw out Dickey's suit.

The suit was first dismissed by a a Salt Lake federal judge in 1997 on the ground that Dickey had failed to go completely through the administrative system with his complaint. The 10th Circuit reinstated it the next year.

After more filings , the judge in February found in favor of the jail officials. Dickey appealed to the 10th Circuit, which handed down its ruling on Friday.

Dickey is serving his manslaughter sentence at the prison in Gunnison.

He pleaded guilty in the execution-style slaying of Michael Lee Bartlett, who was shot in the head in September 1995 and then thrown over an embankment at Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Prosecutors claimed Dickey and a friend wanted to become big-time marijuana dealers and killed the 19-year-old Bartlett for talking too much about their plans.

Dickey, now 41, contended that he merely fell into the wrong crowd.

A state court judge called Dickey a calculating and manipulative career criminal and recommended that he serve the entire 15-year sentence. Dickey is scheduled for his first parole hearing in September 2006.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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