On August 23, 2014, an inmate at the Theo Lacy Facility was involved in a physical melee with two Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. The inmate alleged that his right ear was partially severed as result of excessive and unreasonable force. He claimed that he was attacked due to long standing feud with one of the Deputy Sheriffs. The inmate alleged being unnecessarily beaten and kicked in the groin multiple times without cause.
The truth was a polar opposite from the inmate’s allegations. The inmate was observed being given contraband (an unauthorized paper with a message or drugs) from another inmate. Plaintiff refused to give up the contraband on numerous occasions and disregarded multiple instructions to be searched. A physical altercation started with one of the Deputies placed in a chokehold/headlock by the inmate. The companion Deputy and other jail personnel responded. In the altercation, a portion of the plaintiff’s ear was inadvertently torn away, but was later re-attached in a successful grafting operation. The inmate was never kicked in the groin as claimed. He was punched, however, to gain the release of the Deputy from the chokehold. The inmate actively resisted until subdued by other responding Deputies. There was video tape footage for some of the events that took place.
The federal court jury deliberated for 9 hours over 2 days. A unanimous verdict was reached that the conduct of the Deputies was reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances for what occurred.
This is the second successful County of Orange defense verdict Mr. Wianecki has obtained over the past 10 months.