A Gregg County woman has sued Harris County, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, Harris County Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Socias, jailer Taylor Adams, and several unidentified individuals over what she asserts was illegal imprisonment, recent Houston federal court records show.
Attorney Sean Buckley of the law firm Sean Buckley & Associates in Houston filed a lawsuit on behalf of the woman on July 18, claiming that the plaintiff’s one-month confinement at the Harris County Jail late last year was the result of an unauthorized court order issued during a trial in which she was involved.
The suit explains that Jane Doe was called to testify as a victim witness by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of her alleged rapist. Doe, who is mentally disabled, met with investigators at her home in Longview and was taken to Houston.
Per the complaint, the plaintiff cooperated with prosecutors, but was “emotionally unprepared to confront her attacker in open court.” While giving her testimony, she purportedly suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized at the nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital.
The trial, in turn, was recessed until early this year.
Court papers further show that Socias and others in the district attorney’s office obtained the order in question, which called for the complainant to be incarcerated, and Hickman to execute it “blindly and without hesitation.” The suit charges that the respondents violated Jane Doe’s constitutional rights under the Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
According to the original petition: “Jane Doe never consented to being in custody, and was confused about why she was being imprisoned by the same District Attorney’s Office that had promised to protect her and help her seek justice in a court of law.”
The suit ultimately purports that Doe underwent a harrowing stint in the jail, faulting the defendants for failing to ensure her safety and detaining her without cause.
“During Jane Doe’s imprisonment, defendants and their co-conspirators further violated her constitutional rights by failing to provide considerate, dignified, and safe treatment, failing to provide adequate medical treatment, failing to protect Jane Doe from a violent inmate who physically attacked her, failing to protect Jane Doe from unreasonable and excessive use of force by a jail guard who physically assaulted her, failing to protect Jane Doe from malicious prosecution, defaming Jane Doe by falsely publishing to myriad individuals that she was, inter alia, an accused sex offender, and depriving her of her right to counsel,” it says.
Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:16-CV-2133