Prison system wins in federal court - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Prison system wins in federal court

October 5, 2007

Albany -- A federal jury says the Department of Corrections can't be held responsible for the attack of a state inmate by fellow prisoners. The verdict came Friday in a federal civil trial.       

Convicted Murderer Cass Lee Buttersworth sued State Department of Corrections officials, claiming they directly contributed to his attack by providing inmates with combination locks and not supervising an area where many inmates were gathered. 

It happened at Calhoun State Prison back in 2002. Buttersworth sought an immediate injunction to get surgery for his injuries, even though he originally refused surgery after the attack.

He was also seeking an unspecified amount of money. A jury found in favor of prison employees and Department of Corrections officials.

Rick Collum, the defendants' attorney, explained the verdict this way:  "They argued that because combination lock had been used as a weapon in previous occasions, I think it had been used four times in the past before this event occurred, that prison officials were put on notice that it could be used as a weapon and they wanted to try and put legal liability on the prison system because of that, and the jury said no."

In 1988, Buttersworth was convicted of murdering his stepmother.  He was sentenced to three life terms.  After today's verdict he was sent back to prison.

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