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Case Name U.S. v. LaVallee PC-CO-0010
Docket / Court 00-481 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On November 2, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted seven officers of the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The indictment, superseded in February 2001, charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate by falsely justifying uses of force ... read more >
On November 2, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted seven officers of the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The indictment, superseded in February 2001, charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate by falsely justifying uses of force against inmates; the remaining nine counts alleged physical assaults of individual inmates, depriving them of their Eighth Amendment right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The charges were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under 18 U.S.C. ยง 241 and 242.

On December 15, 2000, each of the seven officers, represented by private counsel, entered "not guilty" pleas. Days before the trial was set to begin in April 2003, the prosecutors asked the court for a continuance, because a key witness was ill and unable to come to court to testify. The court (Judge Wiley Y. Daniel) denied the motion, and the prosecutors appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of the prosecution's motion, holding that outside circumstances preventing the witness from testifying did not constitute exclusion. U.S. v. LaVallee, 61 Fed. Appx. 631 (10th Cir. 2003).

The trial lasted two months and included testimony from guards, former guards, inmates, prison administrators, and three of the defendants. On June 23 and 24, 2003, after ten days of deliberation, the jury returned verdicts. Two of the seven inmates were convicted of the conspiracy charge. The same two defendants, Mike LaVallee and Rod Schultz, were also convicted of physically assaulting individual inmates. In addition, a third defendant, Robert Verbickas, was convicted of physically assaulting an inmate. The remaining four defendants were acquitted of all charges.

LaVallee, Schultz, and Verbickas each moved to be released from jail pending sentencing. After a hearing on July 1, 2003, the court (Judge Daniel) found that the defendants' conviction of a violent crime precluded their release pending sentencing and denied the motions on July 2, 2003. U.S. v. LaVallee, 269 F. Supp. 1297 (D. Colo. 2003). The defendants appealed the District Court's decision, and the Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of their motion to be released pending sentencing on September 2, 2003. U.S. v. Verbickas, 75 Fed. Appx. 705 (10th Cir. 2003).

On November 21, 2003, the court (Judge Daniel) sentenced LaVallee and Schultz to incarceration terms of three years and five months; Verbickas' term was two-and-one-half years.

The defendants' appeal is ongoing.

Laura Uberti - 06/01/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Assault/abuse by staff
Disciplinary procedures
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Criminal Conspiracy to Violate Federal Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241
Criminal Violation of Federal Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242
Defendant(s) Mike LaVallee
Robert Verbickas
Rod Schultz
U.S. Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice (Criminal prosecution)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Criminal Conviction
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2000
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

1:00-cr-00481-WYD (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0010-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order and Judgment (61 Fed.Appx. 631)
PC-CO-0010-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/09/2003
Source: Westlaw
Order (269 F.Supp.2d 1297) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0010-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/02/2003
Source: Google Scholar
Order and Judgment (75 Fed.Appx. 705)
PC-CO-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/02/2003
Source: Google Scholar
Order [ECF# 1679] (2006 WL 2475299) (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0010-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/24/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 1730] (385 Fed.Appx. 842)
PC-CO-0010-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/08/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Briscoe, Mary Beck (Tenth Circuit)
Brorby, Wade (Tenth Circuit)
Daniel, Wiley Young (D. Colo.)
PC-CO-0010-0002 | PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Ebel, David M. (Tenth Circuit)
Kelly, John David (Eighth Circuit)
Lucero, Carlos F. (Tenth Circuit)
McConnell, Michael W. (Tenth Circuit)
Murphy, Michael R. (Tenth Circuit)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Blumberg, Mark (District of Columbia)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Gellert, Karl N. (District of Columbia)
PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Mydans, Robert E. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Russel, Robert M. (Colorado)
Silver, Jessica Dunsay (District of Columbia)
PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005
Suthers, John W. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Banta, Richard James (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Covino, James S. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Hammond, Thomas James (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Holland, Brian K. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
MacFarlane, Neil E. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Sears, Daniel Joseph (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Smith, Daniel T. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Stanton, Boston Henry Jr. (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-0004 | PC-CO-0010-0005 | PC-CO-0010-9001
Toray, Eric Richard (Colorado)
PC-CO-0010-0003 | PC-CO-0010-9001

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