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Legal-Guru
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
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Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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Oklahoma has the following law guidelines: "The Governmental

Resolved Question:

Oklahoma has the following law guidelines:

"The Governmental Tort Claims Act allows Oklahoma citizens to file claims and bring suits against state and county entities. In the Governmental Tort Claims Act, the State of Oklahoma waives its sovereign immunity and the sovereign immunity of political subdivisions of the state, including counties."

There is a situation where a relative is in county jail and is not getting credits for good behavior as state law requires. He filed a grievance almost two weeks ago quoting the laws and also noting an attorney general opinion that an inmate imprisoned in the county jail and serving his time there gets 2 days for every day he is doing some work and 5 days for every 4 days for good behavior. His release date does not reflect the 5 days for every 4 credit. That is why he filed the grievance with no response so far.

My understanding is that if he is there past the date which he should get out using the 5 for 4 day credit he is unlawfully imprisoned. Is that correct?

If that is correct and they don't release him for another 2 months could he sue the county jail for that unlawful imprisonment since based on the state guidelines given above?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
Welcome back to JustAnswer.

I would not file a civil lawsuit. Those can take years to work their way through the courts. By then he will long since be released.

What he should do is file a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the sheriff as the defendant. That is the proper legal vehicle where the state actor, in this case the sheriff, has to justify your relative's continued detention.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the welcome. I am aware of the writ possibility but I am also wondering if he is unlawfully imprisoned would that be some kind of constitutional violation like 8th amendment cruel and unusual punishment where he can file a civil lawsuit?

 

I am just wondering what kind of pressure the sheriff might on him self to do the right thing. We think it has been standard practice in this jail to only give the 2 for 1 day credit but not the 5 for 4. In fact he was told by some administrator he only get one or the other. But we found the laws that say different. So I am wondering if the sheriff might be thinking he will have a lawsuit on his hands if he does not do the right thing.

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
(1) Unlawful imprisonment is a civil cause of action for which he could sue, however, in order to do so he would have to serve the time he is not legally required to serve. Otherwise, he has suffered no damages.

(2) Imprisonment, whether lawful or unlawful, is not considered cruel or unusual punishment so it is not an 8th Amendment violation.

(3) He can certainly try the lawsuit route if he elects to serve the additional time, but if it were me, I would rather get out of jail.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Ok. great. Can you say what state or federal legal statute unlawful imprisonment comes under?

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 10 months ago.
On the state side it is a common law tort which means it was originally derived from the common law (judge made law) of England so there is no state statute. 12 O.S. 95 provides that the statute of limitations is one year for false imprisonment and any cause of action arising while an inmate is in custody. (see link below)

http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/deliverdocument.asp?id=439150&hits=1432+1431+175+174+

The general federal statute for violation of civil rights under color of law, which this would fall under, is 42 U.S.C. 1983. (see link below)

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1347
Experience: Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
Legal-Guru and 5 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Do you have any idea of typically how long a person has to wait to see a judge once he files a writ of habeas corpus ?

 

Also what if has to see the judge who sentenced him. That judge seems to have had it in for him from the beginning. Can that judge ignore the laws governing credits for work in the county jail and credits for good behavior? In other words can the judge come up with some bogus reason to ignore the earned credits and say this person should spend the entire year in jail?

Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 9 months ago.
Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. Fran L. has asked me to help answer your questions from your other thread. Since the questions are closely related I will respond in that thread.
Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1347
Experience: Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
Legal-Guru and 5 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

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