BONIFAY - A current and two former Holmes County Jail inmates - two of which are currently serving sentences with the Florida Department of Corrections - have open lawsuits against the Holmes County Jail and various past and current staff members alleging civil rights violations occurred while in jail custody.
Current Holmes County inmate Dusten Mahon, who is charged with trafficking methamphetamine, perjury, making a false report, and violation of probation, filed a suit July 12 which lists among Sheriff John Tate and former Sheriff Tim Brown among the named defendants.
Mahon states Sheriff Tate fails to provide an adequate law library, heat and air conditioning, or comply with American With Disabilities Act standards. Mahon also alleges in the hand written complaint that Jail Administrator Mike Moore has utilized unlawful use of force, inflicted cruel or inhumane treatment, denied medical care, and subjected inmates to unconstitutional jail conditions. No specific examples were given in court documents to illustrate Mahon's allegations. He also states he has requested but has yet to receive a transaction report on his jail bank account.
Mahon is seeking an award of $25 million for damages.
Former Holmes County Jail inmate Dale A. Castro, who is currently serving a 10-year DOC sentence at Blackwater River Correctional Facility for sexual battery on a victim less than 12 years of age is also seeking judgment against the jail, as well as former staff and former Sheriff Tim Brown, for civil rights violations.
Castro, an African America male, states for Holmes County correctional officer Joel Patrick gave other inmates - who were alleged members of a white supremacist organization - information about his arrest. Castro states that upon being placed in his assigned pod, those inmates began to physically assault him. Castro states he was also forced to "clean the toilet with his toothbrush and then brush his teeth with it."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would later investigate the incident and brought misdemeanor battery charges against Patrick.
Castro is seeking $3 million for damages.
DOC inmate Jeffrey S. Morrill states he was denied mental healthcare, medical care, basic human needs, and due process numerous times during his time as a pre-trial and later post-trial detainee at the facility.
Specifically, the suit cites an October 2013 incident in which the plaintiff was placed on suicide watch after a correctional officer at the jail became concerned that Morrill was suicidal. Morrill states he was released from suicide watch status after a week without any evaluation or treatment by "qualified medical personnel in regards to severe depression."
Morrill goes on to state he bonded out but was again in jail custody in January 2014, during which time he attempted suicide with a razor blade and passed out on the floor. He complains that there was no medical staff on duty and that when he was transferred to Doctors Memorial Hospital, he received stitches and a blood transfusion and released back to the jail hours later. Morrill added DMH to his list of defendants, stating the hospital was aware that the jail "had no mental health providers on staff and no 24/7 medical personnel."
Morrill had subsequent attempted suicide attempts, both at the jail and in July 2014 when he and another inmate escaped. Morrill claims he attempted "suicide by cop," but deputies did not shoot him when they apprehended him in the woods just hours later.
Morrill is seeking nearly $30 million in damages from the defendants, which include DMH, former Sheriff Tim Brown, a former jail nurse, a former jail administrator, Holmes County, and the Holmes County Jail.
The county filed a motion to have the case dismissed in March 2017, citing in part that Morrill failed to show that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.
Morrill is currently being held at a DOC Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler. Most recently, in January 2015, Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson added to Morrill’s existing 30-year sentence for methamphetamine trafficking, handing down an additional term that would ensure the defendant spend the rest of his natural life in prison for his two failed escape attempts from the Holmes County Jail in 2014.
Morrill's previous sentences date back to 2000 and include convictions for sexual battery on a victim less than 12 years of age, burglary, and Grand Theft.