Photo: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Sued Again
Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, through her attorneys, filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa Medical Center, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Officers (MCSO), and Maricopa Medical Center doctors and nurses, alleging that she was shackled by Maricopa County Sheriff’s officers during labor and after her Cesarean delivery.
The complaint, alleges that Sheriff Arpaio and the other defendants violated several constitutional rights, to include the Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and the right of prisoners to adequate health care.
This lawsuit comes on the heals of the Justice Department alleging Arpaio and his office repeatedly violated the civil rights of its Latino detainees. The Sheriff’s office alos turned in their federal credentials after losing their right to conduct immigration screenings in the county jails.
The complaint states that in December 2009, while she was held as a prisoner in Maricopa County jails, Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was repeatedly shackled during her labor and while she recovered from a Cesarean birth. She also alleges that a MCSO deputy or correctional officer forced her to walk, with her hands and feet shackled, wearing only a hospital gown and with a bleeding surgery wound, out of the hospital and then back into the hospital while she was being discharged from the hospital.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association oppose the shackling of women in labor or recuperating from delivery.
The Arizona Department of Corrections eliminated the practice of shackling women in labor or in postpartum recovery in 2003. In 2007, the United States Marshal’s Service eliminated the practice of shackling women in labor. In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Prisons eliminated the practice of shackling women in labor.