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Drunks Can´t Sue Governments if Beaten by Other Prisoners

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The California Supreme Court says cities and counties are immune to lawsuits brought by drunks who are temporarily detained and attacked by other inmates in local jails. Today´s unanimous decision overturns a $172,000 verdict in favor of Craig Teter, who was beaten in a Newport Beach city jail 6 years ago, after he was taken there for allegedly being drunk in public.

Under California law, prisoners are not allowed to sue the agency holding them if they are beaten. Teter had argued that he was not a prisoner, because he was only being temporarily detained. The Supreme Court today said it makes no difference whether the person is a detainee or prisoner.

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