CINCINNATI (AP) — A divided federal appeals court panel has ruled that an Ohio county shouldn’t have to pay for the defense of a jail guard being sued by an inmate over their 2012 jailhouse brawl.
The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision Friday overturns a lower court ruling that Portage County in northeast Ohio had a duty to defend fired corrections officer Connie Sutton. The county was also sued by Holly Anderson, who claims she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
The appellate ruling says Sutton would be entitled to a paid defense if she acted with good faith within her job duties, but found she was inflicting “gratuitous physical punishment” by pepper-spraying Anderson twice after she was no longer a threat.
Sutton claimed she acted in self-defense.