Last week an Aberdeen federal court jury rendered a $250,000 verdict in Jauch v. Choctaw County. Plaintiff alleged the county and Sheriff Cloyd Halford deprived her of her civil rights by jailing her for 96 days before seeing a judge.
Here is the Complaint.
The AP wrote about the case here. From the AP:
A Mississippi jury awarded $250,000 in damages Tuesday to a woman jailed 96 days without seeing a judge, a case spotlighting how Mississippi still struggles to provide access to lawyers or bail to people jailed before trial.
The verdict included $200,000 in damages against Choctaw County Sheriff Cloyd Halford and $50,000 against the county. It was handed down Tuesday after a two-day trial in federal court in Aberdeen. The jury was only determining how much Jauch was owed, after U.S. District Court Judge Sharion Aycock earlier ruled that the county and Halford were liable.
Jessica Jauch was originally arrested on traffic charges in 2012 and held in Choctaw County after being served with a drug indictment. While in jail, she was forced to temporarily sign over her daughter’s custody rights to her mother. After finally seeing a judge, she was appointed a public defender and quickly made bail. Eventually, she was cleared of the drug charge after undercover video didn’t show her committing any crime.
The trial was on damages only. The court previously granted Defendants summary judgment, but the 5th Circuit reversed. Here is the District Court’s Jauch Order on liability.
Here are the jury instructions.
Here is the verdict.
Here is the $0 punitive damages verdict.
Vic Fleitas of Tupelo represented the plaintiff. Dan Griffith of Cleveland represented the County.
District Judge Sharion Aycock presided.
Kudos to Fleitas. After a verdict, it’s easy to pass judgment on a case. But this was a tough case that was hard to win. Usually, plaintiff lawyers are not rewarded for taking tough cases.