UPDATE -Federal Suit Marion County ~Up to the Jury to Decide

I don’t know whether Lawson will win this case or not…that’s up to a jury and I have seen juries get it wrong before but that’s what appeals are for…or attorneys to ask for a retrial. One thing for sure…Marion County handles things with their own brand of law and have managed for sometime now to get away with it; furthermore, I believe it will continue no matter what they decide. From not having Bill McKay, the actual sheriff at the time of this incident, not testifying during this case to the questionable testimony by David McKnight, the current sheriff of the county, Marion County believes that they have avoid the actual truth of what happened at the time of this incident as unlawful; and they very well might have. Frankly, I am shocked that McKnight recalls what actually happened while testifying about that night…or any other for that matter-HA! If you can’t tell, I don’t think must of McKnight; not his honesty or his ability to remember what actually occurred; seeing as how he didn’t within 10 days during another occurrence and other testimony.

Now waiting on word from the jury…

http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/news/police/defense-plantiff-rest-in-marion-jefferson-suit/article_9d0f91d6-3168-5362-be50-598551e6bfe1.html [blogger’s note-I am not responsible for the spelling errors in the following articles…I make enough on my own…]

Defense, plantiff rest in Marion, Jefferson suit

Following testimony from expert witnesses, a dispatcher, an emergency room physician and a crisis screener, the plaintiff and the defense rested their cases Thursday afternoon in the civil trial against the city of Jefferson, Marion County and three officers.

The trial is being held at the Sam B. Hall Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Marshall.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who is presiding over the case, instructed jurors to return to the courtroom by 9:30 a.m. today to hear counsel from all parties present closing arguments.

“Do not discuss the case with anyone or yourselves,” Gilstrap reminded them.

“That’s been important throughout the trial, but more now so that all the evidence has been heard,” he said.

The plaintiff, Elizabeth Lawson, who is asking for no less than $500,000 in damages from the case, claims that the officers, while acting under the authority as members of the police department and sheriff’s office, violated her constitutional rights — the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law and the right to be free from excessive force — when they responded to her home after receiving a call that she was suicidal, allegedly arrested her without probable cause, searched her home without a search warrant and tased her multiple times after transporting her to the county jail. Officers named in the suit are sheriff’s deputies Chuck Rogers and David Quada; and police officer Terrance Mems.

In her testimony Thursday, former Marion County jailer and dispatcher Debbie Meisenheimer recounted the night she received the call from Lawson’s friend, James Compton, advising that Lawson was suicidal.

“He said Ms. Lawson was his friend, recently divorced, moved to the East Texas area, her boyfriend was on the road and she was alone… she was very unhappy,” said Meisenheimer. “He said Ms. Lawson explained to him she was ready to check out. He indicated Ms. Lawson did have a .22-caliber pistol and indicated if the police would come, she would walk out with it in her hand.”

Meisenheimer said she interpreted that Lawson wanted to kill herself.

“He sounded very concerned,” she said of the caller, advising that the sheriff’s office takes suicidal threats seriously.

Meisenheimer said after getting the second call from Compton, saying Lawson had informed him that she was thinking about committing suicide by cop, she attempted to call Lawson’s residence, but was unsuccessful in reaching her.

She said when officers arrived to the jail with her, Lawson was very combative and screaming, wanting to know why she was there.

“I said, ‘We are trying to get you some help,’” Meisenheimer said she informed her.

The former dispatcher said they put Lawson, who was screaming and kicking, in a restraint chair to keep her from injuring herself. Meisenheimer said she could still hear Lawson screaming from the recreation room where she was taken to keep her from disturbing the rest of the jail population. She said she learned that Lawson was tased because the Jefferson police officer who did it, Terrance Mems, told her.

“He just advised me that he had used a Taser and it needed to be put in a log,” she said.

In his testimony, Dr. Matthew Porter, an emergency physician, said he diagnosed Lawson with first degree burns to the abdomen when she came into the emergency room two days following the incident, complaining of muscle aches, toe pain and burning caused by tasing.

“I recommended she use Neosporin in the area — over-the-counter medicine,” he said regarding the first degree burns to the abdomen.

He said first degree burns are the least severe burn found on the very superficial top layer of the skin, and is equivalent to a mild sunburn.

Answering questions from Bradley Echols, co-counsel for the city, Porter said what he saw on Lawson was more of a redness and not the blistered wounds depicted in the photographs by her attorneys.

“I would’ve noted blistering in my records,” he said.

Carson Runge, Lawson’s attorney, reminded Porter that in his deposition he told them that he couldn’t remember what Lawson’s stomach looked like.

Porter testified that as far as he can recall it was red.

“I don’t see a ton of Taser injuries,” he said.

In his testimony to jurors Thursday, Randall Webster, a crisis screener for Community Healthcore’s mental health authority, said he did not believe Lawson was a threat to herself or others following the examination he conducted on her at the jail.

“She was suicidal, but had no plan. She was highly agitated, but became more cooperative and said she was no longer suicidal,” he said of his conclusions.

“She talked about going to work at 2 p.m., which was a good sign that she’s no longer suicidal,” he said.

He determined that she did not meet the crisis criteria for hospitalization; however, he did recommend that she go to Community Healthcore for a mobile crisis outpatient treatment follow-up.

Jurors are tasked with the decision of determining whether officers unlawfully detained Lawson without due process of law, meaning without having probable cause to arrest her. They also have to determine whether officers caused unreasonable force while arresting her, as well as decide whether the policies of the county and city created the liabilities for the alleged actions.


Just as I suspected, the jury cleared them…I wonder if they will appeal the case…So shooting a resident in the stomach while in a restraint chair is now OK!?! -Holy Smokes, justice is BLIND in East Texas for sure no matter where they hold trial and which court it is held-I guess for there to be a fair trial the case needs to be held further away where people are ‘civilized’ to know better and get the actual sheriff who was in charge to testify-ASK HOW MANY CASES AGAINST THE COUNTY FOR UNLAWFUL PROCEDURES AND/OR ABUSE OF AUTHORITY HAS ACTUALLY TAKEN PLACE WHILE HE WAS IN CHARGE AND DA GLEASON WAS DISTRICT ATTORNEY!?! How about asking who was really in charge of every aspect of the county court house and the sheriff’s department!!! -Who is telling judges what to do and what they will decide-after all, they deny trial by jury in Marion County any time they wanted to!!! -And lest anyone forget that the media is now allowed to trespass on private property thru the use of the anti-SLAP law although the law stats that it can not be used when there has been criminal activity-HA! -Case never made to to court, the judge decided even thou there  it was supposed to be a trial by jury-Yep…They clearly know how to get rid of civil suits and not have a trial by jury in Marion County.

Better known as Good Ole Boy Justice…Sorry, but I can not help but wonder just how much of this that attorney knew!?! I’m certain that he did not and neither did Lawson…


Jury clears deputies and officer in civil suit

A federal jury has found the city of Jefferson, Marion County and 3 officers not guilty of unlawfully detaining a woman after responding to her home for a welfare check on Nov. 4, 2012.

Jurors also found Jefferson Police Officr Terrance Mems not guilty of using excessive and unreasonable force when he tased the plaintiff, Elizabeth Lawson, to get her to be compliant.

Lawson filed the civil suit against the entities and officers claiming that the officers, while acting under the authority as members of the police department and sheriff’s office, violated her constitutional rights — the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law and the right to be free from excessive force — when they responded to her home for a welfare check, allegedly arrested her without probable cause, searched her home without a search warrant and tased her multiple times after transporting her to the county jail.

The defense argued that they acted out of concern for Lawson, who was suicidal, and detained her so that she could be taken to jail for a mental health check.

Lawson’s attorneys said they had no comment, following the verdict.

Marion County Sheriff David McKnight and Jefferson Police Chief Joe Hall were pleased with the jury’s decision, and glad that their officers have been cleared.

Jurors reached a verdict around 3:30 p.m. Friday after about two hours of deliberating.

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned  -B

~ by topcatsroar on February 7, 2014.

5 Responses to “UPDATE -Federal Suit Marion County ~Up to the Jury to Decide”

  1. Why in the world would law enforcement, who as the dispatcher testified, took suicidal threats seriously, shackle and cuff this woman in her own home and take her to the JAIL???Would it not appear more reasonable for a knowledgeable officer of the law to try and talk with this woman and then if they believed she was suicidal then TAKE HER TO THE NEAREST E.R. FOR A PSYCHE EVAL??? What kind of freaking law enforcement department exists in this place! I mean really!

    • And totally acceptable to people who live in East Texas…AMAZING isn’t it!?! Go figure!!! The case should have gone to Texarkana…or Dallas…After what I have experienced in East Texas there is no way I would imagine a fair trial can be had…I’m not so surprised-HA

  2. I call BULLSHIT! You just can’t walk in someone’s house without a, warrant! And as above comment…..!!! UNREAL!

  3. Tazers are meant to be used on a violent suspect -ONCE. They might be used two or three times if the suspect is high on drugs or otherwise resistant to that one application. But by the third time, it should be obvious that it’s not working. The tazer obviously worked on her the first time, so they used it again. And again. And again. Up to SEVENTEEN TIMES. Think about this. You’ve probably seen what happens when a normal person is hit by a tazer. They fall fast, as if electrocuted, because that’s basically what it is, is a type of electrocution. A stun gun is similar, except that it does not shoot barbs and only lasts as long as it’s held in contact. The only reason an officer in closed quarters would use a tazer instead of a stun gun would be that the officer is just plain chicken shit and afraid to get close to the person. And once they’ve shot those barbs into you (unlike a hypo, there’s no law saying they have to be sterilized), they can activate them again and again till the battery is dead. A 5-second burst seems like an eternity if you are on the receiving end.

    Repeated bursts by a Taser can be lethal as evidenced by the death of the Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver, BC airport (in 2009) where he died after an RCMP officer, in spite of his training, repeatedly stunned him with a Taser.

    Does the victim need to have blisters and open wounds to prove misuse of the tazer? I don’t believe so. The cops should be made to prove why they needed to blast her SEVENTEEN times, “to protect her from herself.” This argument is so similar to the one where they murder dogs and cats to “save them from an accused abuser.”

  4. […] https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/update-federal-suit-marion-county-now-up-to-the-jury-to… […]

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