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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 12, 2005

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 989-6650
cell: (617) 828-5134


SUFFOLK SHERIFF AND FORMER INMATES REACH NON-MONETARY SETTLEMENT IN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT


Federal District Court Judge Rya Zobel has accepted a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. The suit was filed in 1999 by 55 inmates alleging routine abuse and improper treatment during the tenure of former Suffolk County Sheriff Richard Rouse.

The settlement agreement does not award compensation to the plaintiffs. Rather, the agreement acknowledged that Sheriff Cabral’ administration had already made changes that addressed the plaintiffs concerns and planned to implement additional similar reforms. The plaintiffs concluded that the terms of the agreement were "fair and reasonable after considering …the changed circumstances at the Sheriff’s Department …and the desirability of conserving public resources for the implementation of Sheriff Cabral’s program."

"I am very pleased that this settlement agreement was reached and accepted by the Court. Positive reform and change are what I promised I would bring to this Department. This settlement agreement is a reflection of my commitment to keep that promise." said Sheriff Cabral.

The agreement includes a provision to pay lawyer’s fees in the amount of $175,000. In addition to continuing to her reforms regarding officer training, inmate grievance procedures and record keeping, Cabral agreed to hire a consultant within one year of the agreement to review and report on the progress of those reforms. The Department was represented in the settlement by Michael Perry of the law firm of Hannify and King.


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