CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The executive director of the West Virginia ACLU is hopeful the state Supreme Court will reverse an original order and rule the state Regional Jail Authority can be held liable for the actions of its correctional officers. The High Court announced last week it planned to reconsider the case.

“We believe that guards through the very nature of their employment exercise complete authority and control over the inmates,” WV ACLU Executive Director Jennifer Meinig said. “So we believe if you are an inmate you should be able to attach liability to the jail.”

A female inmate at the Southern Regional Jail claims a correctional officer raped her 17 times in 2009. The Regional Jail Authority filed a motion saying it qualified for immunity under state law because the guard’s actions were beyond his scope of employment. A circuit judge denied the motion but the High Court agreed with the authority in a 4-1 decision. But the Court said last week it would issue a modified opinion in the near future.

Meinig said her organization is very excited the High Court has decided to rehear the case.

“We think it’s a constitutional right for all persons to be free from an invasion of their personal security and bodily integrity is clearly established,” she said.

Chief Justice Robin Davis was the lone dissenting vote in the original order.

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  • Gary Karstens

    The ACLU is doing the right thing here people. Inmates do have rights whether you like or not. I support the ACLU on this matter.

  • Retiree!

    Our taxpayers getting the shaft because these clowns sue everybody. When they lose a case the ACLU should be liable for the court cost. It's a shame inmates have more rights than ordinary citizens.

    • Brian

      I think protection from rape is not an unreasonable expectation for an inmate to have. It certainly doesn't exceed the rights afforded to the free.

  • MOCO man

    Keep your hind end out of jail and you won't have to worry about it. ACLU is just looking for another avenue to sue someone..........that is one screwed up organization..........they should be housed in tent cities instead of buildings anyway.......

    • Debra

      This is a regional jail, not a prison. Many people in there have not been convicted of a crime and are only waiting on trial because they can't afford bail. No one has the right to rape an inmate. The jail is not disputing that it happened, so they should be liable for their employees conduct.