A Butler County man has filed a lawsuit against a municipal court judge and the county’s sheriff alleging his constitutional rights were violated after his arrest after a traffic stop.
Fairfield Municipal Court Judge Joyce Campbell, Sheriff Richard Jones and the City of Fairfield are named in the federal suit filed in United States District Court in Cincinnati by Anselm Caddell. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed earlier this month and amended Monday to include the sheriff as a defendant, according to court documents.
The lawsuit claims Campbell fails to “conduct arraignments such that some detained individuals are held in custody for more than 48 hours — sometimes for long as five days — prior to their appearance before her, in violation of their clearly established rights.”
Attorneys for Caddell claim that “Campbell routinely fails to convene court on days when she knows individuals are being held in the Butler County Jail in excess of 48 hours, in violation of their constitutional rights.”
The suit says Jones, fails “to release from his custody those individuals who where subject to warrantless arrest and who have been detained for more than 48 hours without appearance before a judicial officer.”
Campbell said she could not comment on pending litigation. Attorneys for the city of Fairfield and Campbell also declined comment.
Caddell, an honorably discharged combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for an alleged traffic violation during the early morning hours of Feb. 23, 2017, according to the suit. Caddell is licensed to carry concealed weapons and had a firearm in the trunk of the vehicle when stopped.
Caddell was detained in the Butler County Jail until Feb. 28, 2017 before being arraigned by Campbell. He was released by the judge on his own recognizance, and all charges were later ignored by a county grand jury or withdrawn by prosecutors, according to the suit.
“Mr. Caddell’s five-day detention without appearance before a judicial officer resulted in deprivation of his Constitutional rights guaranteed under the Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendments,” the attorneys write in the lawsuit.
Courts are required to arraign defendants before a magistrate or judge within 48 hours, unless the court can there show “some emergency or extraordinary circumstances,” said Paul Laufman, one of two attorneys who filed the law suit.
Laufman and attorney Gregory A Napolitano said they have been identified 70 or more people who “were subject to warrantless arrest and detained for more than 48 hours without appearance before a judicial officer (in Fairfield Municipal Court).”
Caddell consulted Laufman and Napolitano about other matters in his case when he said he was held in the jail for five days. The attorneys wanted to looked into the alleged practice.
“We were pretty surprised at what we found,” Laufman said in an interview with the Journal-News.
The lawsuit is asking the policies be declared unconstitutional and the current system be stopped.
It also asks for damages in an amount to be shown at trial.
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