Attorneys on Southern Regional Jail suit argue over surveillance
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - There were new developments on Monday regarding a federal civil rights lawsuit involving hundreds of inmates who claim they were subject to inhumane living conditions at Southern Regional Jail.
In recent court filings, attorneys argued over statements by a number of trustee inmates at the jail who claim they witnessed staff destroying documents relevant to the case as late as March of 2023 (after receipt of a letter to preserve evidence).
Ahead of an April hearing on the issue, the plaintiffs’ attorneys requested two weeks’ worth of the jail’s surveillance covering some of the time period in which trustee inmates made these observations. Following a review of that video, attorneys for the inmates followed up with the state’s attorney over missing video from March 17th and March 30th. March 17th was the same day Interim Superintendent John Frame previously testified that all of the jail’s shredders were brought into his office. See past reporting on issue here: Attorneys appear in court for first time on federal civil rights lawsuit involving SRJ (wvva.com)
When asked about the missing video, the state’s attorney attributed the missing video to an automatic system in which the video re-writes over itself after 14 days. However, an attorney for the plaintiffs took issue with that response, noting that surveillance was missing from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. on March 17, but that the video before and after that time period was turned over.
Magistrate Aboulhosn has yet to rule on the motion for contempt. However, he has set the case for a number of pre-trial hearings for the Spring of 2024.
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