The Latest on @RealSheriffJoe: Woman Sues Sheriff’s Office For Being Shackled During Birth

Dec 20, 2011
7:52 pm

Today's Sheriff Joe Arpaio update comes from Tucson, where Carlos Galindo broke a story on Galindo, whose calls himself Arizona's "Unapologetic Liberal' and is a local talk show host in Tucson, posted this afternoon news that a woman has filed a lawsuit against Arpaio, the Maricopa Counry Sheriff's Office, and other defendents alleging that she was shackled during childbirth when she was in custody of the MCSO.

Here is the text that Galindo cites, a press release written by the woman's lawyers:


DECEMBER 20, 2011
Phoenix, AZ

Mendiola v. Arpaio, et. al

Arizona District Court Number 11CV2512

Yesterday, through her attorneys, Miriam Mendiola-Martinez filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa Medical Center, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Officers, 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. Her attached 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.

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. In 2008, in Nelson v. Norris, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found the shackling of women prisoners during labor to constitute cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

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.

Ms. Mendiola-Martinez is represented by Attorneys Joy Bertrand, Shannon Peters, and John McBee.

As of this posting, neither Arpaio nor the MCSO has commented on this suit.