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Michigan Court Judge Brock Swartzle permits lawsuit on prison violence at Macomb Correctional Facility

29 Dec 2023, Jail News, by

Judge Brock Swartzle refuses to dismiss the lawsuit accusing Macomb Correctional Facility of cruel and unusual punishment.

Michigan Court Judge Brock Swartzle permits lawsuit on prison violence at Macomb Correctional Facility - Inmate Lookup

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit alleging an unconstitutional level of violence at the Macomb Correctional Facility in Lenox Township, Michigan, can proceed.

The lawsuit was filed by two families who lost loved ones, as well as a prisoner who survived a knifing, against the Michigan Department of Corrections. The legal action, initiated in July, claims wrongful death, violation of prisoners’ rights to bodily integrity, and cruel and unusual punishment.

The judge, Brock Swartzle of the Michigan Court of Claims, in a December 20 ruling, rejected calls from state attorneys to dismiss the suit, stating that it is premature to make a decision until more evidence is presented. The state argued that it has governmental immunity, among other defenses.

However, Judge Swartzle determined that it is necessary to delve further into certain issues, such as whether the Macomb Correctional Facility officials were grossly negligent in relation to the prisoner-on-prisoner attacks. If such negligence is established, governmental immunity may not apply.

The incidents cited in the lawsuit include a fatal knife attack on September 18, 2022, in a prison common area that resulted in the death of Christopher Neely; the stabbing and asphyxiation of Ruben Martinez on October 17, 2022; and the stabbing of Daniel Mastaw on October 18, 2022, near the prison chow hall, causing severe injuries.

Crystal Neely, who is married to Robert, Christopher Neely’s brother, stated to a news organization in July that she didn’t want another family to experience the same violence.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Marko, the Detroit attorney representing the plaintiffs, announced that he will take sworn testimony from prison officials and believes he can demonstrate “a pattern and practice of systemic and rampant problems” that lead to prison deaths.



Image by Sergei Tokmakov, Esq. https://Terms.Law from Pixabay