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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Much of Robertson suit dismissed

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A federal judge has dismissed a major part of a lawsuit centered around the county's bail bonding system.

Ricky Robertson has been suing Bedford County since late 2010, claiming that it operates a system of setting bail for those arrested and presented to a judicial commissioner "that is not based on the individualized assessment of that particular person's likelihood to flee."

But U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice granted a partial motion from the county to dismiss the case, also denying Robertson's motion for class certification, and declaring other issues as moot.

Robertson had claimed violations of the 4th, 8th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, suing the county, Deputy Kevin Roddy and "John Does," also saying that he was severely beaten at the jail and that the rights of thousands of others have been violated by the local bail bonding system.

"Not deprived"

In a 14-page opinion, Mattice wrote that Robertson has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted as to his 8th and 14th amendment bail claims.

The judge said that Robertson "has not demonstrated a plausible claim to challenge the amount of his bail," citing a number of court cases. Mattice stated that Robertson must allege that his bail was set at "an amount greater than that usually fixed to support his claim."

Mattice also pointed out that Robertson was not deprived of his liberty "because he was, in fact, released on bail."

The judge wrote that Robertson's claim is essentially that he was deprived of his property because he was assessed with bail, rather than released on his recognizance, without a hearing to determine whether bail was required.

Arrest claims

Robertson was arrested on Nov. 28, 2009 for disorderly conduct and public intoxication and was released on $1,500 bond.

He claims that during his arrest, Roddy and/or the unknown deputies took him from the patrol car and forcefully pushed him into jail by lifting his handcuffed hands high above his shoulders from the back when they arrived.

But officers say that Robertson was heavily intoxicated, screamed threats at deputies and had to be placed in a restraint chair due to his behavior.