Disgraced Mayor Kilpatrick Asks For More Ice in Prison

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 28, 2013 3:55 PM

Ex-mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick complained to the Sixth Circuit on Monday that the lack of ice was impairing his physical therapy for his knee.

These “spartan conditions” were the genesis of an appeal to the court to be released on bond while he awaits sentencing in his federal corruption case, reports The Detroit News.

Kilpatrick is awaiting sentencing on racketeering and corruption charges, but he may have an argument about medical care.

Kilpatrick's Bail Argument

The former mayor has been consistently rebuffed when requesting release on bond from U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds, so Kilpatrick tried seeking help from the Sixth Circuit, reports Detroit Free Press.

In his arguments before the Court on Tuesday, Kilpatrick's counsel argued that he:

  • Has a bad knee which requires physical therapy
  • Is not a flight risk (how could he flee with such a knee?)
  • Has been unable to heal properly due to incarceration
  • Does not have enough ice for post-therapy

Federal prosecutors disagree, stating that they believe Kilpatrick has enough cash on hand to bankroll an escape prior to sentencing, reports The Detroit News.

Prisoner Medical Claims

No one ever said that federal prison is like a relaxing physical therapy rehab clinic, and the federal courts are notoriously stingy with prisoner medical claims. To put things in perspective, the Tenth Circuit in early June 2013 denied a female inmate's claim under Section 1983 even after a negligent nurse's actions caused her arm to be amputated.

As the Eighth Circuit affirmed in a recent prisoner overmedication case, a prisoner needs to show that the prison officials treated her with "deliberate indifference" in order to prevail on a Eighth Amendment claim.

That strict standard is likely what will keep Kilpatrick from ever succeeding on a constitutional claim for lack of ice, unless his physical therapy is somehow an excessive risk of harm to him.

Bottom Line

Kilpatrick's bail appeal to the Sixth Circuit will not be held to as strict a standard as if he were making a constitutional claim, but the Court is likely to affirm the lower district court's decision to deny bail.

There is no mistake of law in denying someone adequate ice in prison.

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