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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Guard Must Pay $2,500 |for Retaliatory Transfer

(CN) - The 8th Circuit ordered an Arkansas prison guard to pay $2,500 for transferring an inmate into a mosquito-infested cell in retaliation for complaining that the guard cursed and threatened him.

A three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based court rejected an appeal by Sgt. Patrick L. Stephenson, who argued that the transfer wasn't retaliatory.

Inmate Walter Haynes filed a grievance over Stephenson's alleged cursing and threats in 2007. Stephenson allegedly told him, "I don't need you saying any f--king thing to me or f--king about me to any S.O.B. ... If you ever do, I swear you'll live to f--king regret it."

Stephenson filed a disciplinary report against Haynes, accusing him of violating prison rules by lying in the grievance.

Haynes spent six days in an isolation wing. "There, Haynes occupied a hot, humid, mosquito-infested cell, and received reduced shower and exercise privileges," the ruling states.

He was allowed to return to his regular cell after the disciplinary report was dismissed.

The appellate panel upheld the lower court's $2,500 punitive damage award for Haynes, saying Stephenson had "engaged in willful, malicious and deceitful conduct."

Haynes is serving a 40-year sentence for murdering two brothers in 1991.

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