County settles former inmate's lawsuit
Judge awards $325,000, but inmate back in jailA Prineville man who sued both Jefferson and Crook County, as well as deputies from each jail, has been awarded $325,000 in a settlement, but is back in jail.
Curtis Leroy Hooper, 34, is being held on a courtesy hold -- for a Crook County probation violation -- in the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro.
The lawsuit filed by Hooper, who served time in both the Crook County and Jefferson County jails between October 2010 and June 2011, was seeking over $19 million -- $2.3 million from Jefferson County, and $1 million each from about a dozen defendants, plus $1 million each from Crook County, two of its deputies, the city of Prineville, and two of its officers.
On March 8, U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a 60-day order of dismissal -- with prejudice and without cause -- which means that Hooper cannot refile the same charges.
Hooper had alleged that he was abused by officers in Prineville, and deputies at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. One former deputy, Rob Robbins, was terminated and charged with second-degree assault for deliberately closing a metal jail door on Hooper's hand, smashing the bones in two of his fingers. Robbins eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree assault.
Represented by attorney Andrew Mathers, of Bend, Hooper reached a settlement agreement with Jefferson County and Robbins in the U.S. District Court, but details are confidential. Mathers did not respond to calls for comment.
The brutality charges against Crook County and Prineville police, as well as deputies in Jefferson County, were dismissed as part of the settlement.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is glad the case has finally been resolved.
"It's a relief to my staff to have it done," he said. "I think he's a very hostile and unpredictable individual; we're not going to house him in our jail."
Adkins indicated that the county's and Crook County's insurance would pay the judgment, but he was unsure how it would be divided between the two counties.
After the settlement was reached, Hooper was arrested by Redmond police on a Crook County warrant on March 19. "They took him to Deschutes County for the night," said Adkins, noting that Crook County does not have appropriate facilities to house Hooper, and Jefferson County refused to house him.