04 Nov Civil Rights Lawyers Fisher & Byrialsen PLLC Secure Justice for an Abused Woman and Champion Female Safety Reform Effort
Provided By Denver Legal Marketing
October 25, 2022
After a successful trial exposing a sexual assault on a developmentally disabled woman, attorneys push for justice and reinstatement of the Matron Program.
This case is an insult to the justice system and a stain on the law enforcement community and should never have been allowed to happen. Sedgwick County and its Sheriff have let the community down.”— David Fisher, Attorney for Plaintiff
DENVER, COLORADO — Attorneys Jane Fisher-Byrialsen and David Fisher, with the law firm Fisher & Byrialsen, PLLC, recently secured justice for a developmentally disabled victim in an egregious case of abuse at the hands of a Colorado sheriff. Now, these civil rights attorneys are working to ensure that it never happens again.
The case centered on police misconduct at the hands of former Sedgwick County Sheriff Thomas Hanna on August 10, 2016. During a routine jail transport, The Sheriff took the victim in his personal vehicle from the Sedgwick County Jail to his home and sexually assaulted her after she refused his offer of $60 to have sexual intercourse with him. After the assault, The Sheriff threatened Ms. Biggs with life in prison if she ever told anyone what happened. After The Sheriff dropped Ms. Biggs off at the Logan County Jail, he put $20 in her jail commissary account, and later denied any wrongdoing.
Six years later, on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, a federal jury, acting as representatives of the citizens of the United States of America, found Hanna liable for excessive force, cruel and unusual punishment, and false imprisonment. The jury awarded Ms. Biggs $8.25 million in damages after the two-day trial.
This case is an insult to the justice system and a stain on the law enforcement community and should never have been allowed to happen. Sedgwick County and its Sheriff have let the community down. ~ David Fisher, Attorney for the Plaintiff
“This case is an insult to the justice system and a stain on the law enforcement community and should never have been allowed to happen. Sedgwick County and its Sheriff have let the community down,” said Attorney David Fisher. “Thankfully, in this matter, the victim’s voice was heard, and justice prevailed. Now that the jury has spoken through their verdict, the County needs to do the right thing and indemnify Sheriff Hanna to help the victim collect her damages and why they should reinstate the Matron Program in Sedgwick County. This program can prevent future atrocities like the one perpetrated against our client.”
The Matron Program would require female county employees to oversee the handling and transports of female detainees. This would ensure the safety of female inmates as well as protect law-abiding officials from unfounded allegations. The program was previously in place in Sedgwick County until 2014, when then-Sheriff Thomas Hanna discontinued it.
“This is certainly an example of justice delayed for women in Sedgwick County, Colorado and in our Country,” commented Attorney Jane Byrialsen. “Our client has lived with the trauma caused by the on-duty Sheriff’s sexual assault for over half a decade. She has finally received the verdict she deserves. The day after the jury found in her favor, our client told me that ‘“last night was the first night in years that I didn’t have nightmares … I am so happy that I got my justice back!”’. Now those responsible need to actually comply with the jury’s verdict and reinstate the Matron Program to prevent this from happening again.”