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Former New Mexico Prisoner Awarded $15 Million Settlement


A man detained in New Mexico won a $15 million settlement in court this month. After being held in isolation for nearly two years in county jail, the settlement is reportedly one of the largest ever awarded in a prisoner civil rights case.

Authorities in Doña Ana County in southern New Mexico arrested Stephen Slevin in 2005 on a DWI charge. He spent the next 22 months in solitary confinement while his case languished in court. A judge finally dismissed Slevin's case in 2007 because of the prisoner’s poor mental state. Attorney Matthew Coyte says his client suffered unjustifiably.

"It doesn't matter if you are in jail for murder or DWI… you should get humane conditions of confinement and you should not be treated like an animal," said Coyte.


Tax payers in Doña Ana County will be responsible for most of the $15.5 million dollar settlement.