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Lawsuit alleges sheriff violated man's rights

Man says he was unlawfully in county jail for 22 days


Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett violated an Oregon man’s constitutional rights by unlawfully detaining him in jail for 22 days, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 16 in Washington County.

According to the lawsuit, which seeks $10,000 in damages, William Chambers was arrested by sheriff’s deputies Sept. 30, 2012, on charges that he was a fugitive from authorities in Indiana. On Oct. 15, authorities in Indiana notified Garrett and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office that they were not going to attempt to obtain a warrant to extradite Chambers and that he should be released, according to the lawsuit.

In an email exchange with the News-Times, Brady Mertz, the attorney for Chambers, wrote that his client was being held for non-payment of child support for a child that had died years earlier.

The lawsuit also names Attorney Josh McCarthy as a defendant and alleges he should have known the hold had been dropped and should have raised the issue in court. McCarthy represented Chambers as an attorney with Metropolitan Public Defender Services.

According to the lawsuit, Chambers found out the hold had been dropped and he informed McCarthy Oct. 16, one day after the sheriff and district attorney got the news. Chambers’ wife informed McCarthy again after she learned the news Oct. 24. Chambers was not released from jail until Nov. 6, 2012.

The lawsuit states both McCarthy and Garrett should have known that the state of Indiana had dropped its proceedings to extradite and prosecute Chambers and should have immediately taken steps to secure his release.

Instead of Chambers being released, however, the district attorney’s office requested his bail be increased, according to the lawsuit. The district attorney is not named in the lawsuit. Mertz did not explain why.

A sheriff’s representative said he could not comment while the lawsuit is pending.

A district attorney spokesman said he would have to research the case history to explain the DA’s request to increase bail.

McCarthy did not respond to the News-Times’ attempts to contact him.

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