Visitor Question

Juvenile hall officer punched my son in his injured back…

Submitted By: Anonymous (California)

My son has been in juvenile hall for about four and a half months. From day one there has been a guard that does not like him and for no particular reason. She is always yelling at him and giving him a hard time.

Three weeks ago he was minding his own business, playing bingo with a few other kids. He was looking down at his bingo card when this guard came up and punched him in the back. He turned around and looked at her and she started to laugh then walked away.

Here’s the icing on the cake, my son has a fractured spine and two herniated disks. Two weeks before this incident, juvenile hall took him to the hospital for an MRI on his back. So, my point is the guard knew he had a back injury prior to punching him.

She claims she thought my son was someone else. Regardless if that is true or not, she shouldn’t be punching any of those kids in there. My question is, do you think we can win if I was to pursue this case? How much money should we ask for? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

It is certainly unfortunate that the guard struck your son, especially as your son was recently hospitalized for a back injury. There is no doubt the only time a guard should strike a prisoner is in self-defense, or to intervene when a third party is being assaulted.

From the facts you present, the guard’s actions, albeit inappropriate, did not result in either an exacerbation of your son’s previous injury, or cause a new injury. To have the basis of a compensable claim would require proving an injury was caused by the guard.

As a result, you, on behalf of your son, do not have the basis of a personal injury or assault claim aganst the guard, or the detention center’s government agency, whether county, state, or both.

In an effort to thwart any future assaults against your son, or other juvenile detainees, you can file a complaint with the guard’s supervisor. Doing so should assure this guard is properly disciplined for her actions. You may also seek help through the California Department of Corrections Ombudsman.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 15, 2015

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