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Man gets $15 million after being left 2 years in solitary confinement with no charge

By Mason White 4:15 AM March 8, 2013
Stephen Slevin before and after 

By: Moses Gold
(Scroll down for video) A man was arrested but never charged on suspicion of drunk driving. The man was jailed in solitary confinement for nearly two years, according to court proceedings in New Mexico.

Now, the prisoner from New Mexico who languished for almost two years in solitary confinement has been awarded one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history.

Stephen Slevin, 59, will receive $15.5 million after Dona Ana County reached an agreement with the former inmate, who was imprisoned in the county detention center from 2005 to 2007 in an arrest for driving while intoxicated.

The agreement, however, is less than the $22 million a jury awarded him initially last year which the county has appealed.
“His mental health has been severely compromised from the time he was in that facility. He is not the same person. No amount of money will bring back what they took from him,” Slevin’s attorney, Matt Coyte, said.

“It’s nice to be able to get some money to improve his life and move on,” the attorney added.
Those 22 months was inhuman and a hellish experience for Slevin. His toenails grew so long that they curled around his feet, was denied showers, causing fungi to form on his skin and he developed bedsores.

Prison officials did not allow him to see a dentist, his lawyer said, so Slevin grew so desperate that he extracted a painful tooth on his own.

Slevin, a Virginia resident, was arrested in August 2005 on suspicion of drunk driving. His lawyer said he was depressed at the time and was trying to get out of New Mexico.

But officials simply threw him in solitary confinement and his lawyer said he was never given a hearing before being placed there or allowed to see a judge shortly after his arrest.
Slevin subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming his right to due process was violated.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view