$15.5M settlement reached in NM confinement case

Posted at: 03/05/2013 9:59 PM
By: Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A southern New Mexico county has reached a $15.5 million settlement to end the legal battle over the case of a man who was held in solitary confinement for two years and was so neglected that he took out his own tooth.

The settlement announced late Tuesday stems from mediation ordered by a federal appeals court.

Dona Ana County was appealing a lower court decision to uphold a $22 million judgment that was awarded last year to former county inmate Stephen R. Slevin. That verdict was one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history.

The county's board of commissioners said in a statement that it regrets the harm Slevin suffered while in custody.

According to Slevin's lawsuit, he spent 22 months in jail after being arrested for drunken driving but was never convicted.

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