Sacto 9-1-1
March 4, 2013
Jury finds in favor of men who claimed excessive force by deputies

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

A jury in federal court has found that Sacramento County sheriff's deputies violated the constitutional rights of two men by subjecting them to excessive force while the men were in jail.

The eight-member panel, however, awarded each man only $1 in damages.

This is the second trial of a civil rights lawsuit brought against the county and sheriff's personnel by Robert E. Hunter and Howard Eley. A jury in 2008 rejected their highly publicized claims that they were attacked by deputies for no legitimate reason.

But a three-judge panel of the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2011 that the jurors were not properly instructed on the law by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell and sent the case back to Sacramento for a retrial.

Friday's verdict allows the attorney for the two men, Gary Gorski, to ask Burrell to order the county to pay his fees and costs. It will be up to the judge how much Gorksi is reimbursed based on the amount of work he did and the mixed-message verdict.

Gorski filed a motion over the weekend asking Burrell to make nine findings of fact based on the outcome of the trial and to issue an injunction barring such behavior by deputies in the future.

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