Omaha, NE -- KMTV Action 3 News is taking an extended look into the civil rights lawsuit filed by accused killer Anthony Garcia. Not only does he say he was wrongly arrested, but that he's being treated poorly in jai.
Garcia wrote the lawsuit from jail which has been filed in U.S. Federal Court, and he is representing himself. Now, one state agency says they will be looking into at least one of Garcia's claims.
In letters written to U.S. Federal Judge Richard Kopf, Garcia says the Douglas County Jail is violating his civil rights. Garcia is not only seeking $20 million in damages in the lawsuit, he's writing other state agencies about the complaints.The Nebraska State Ombudsman’s Office reviews thousands of citizen complaints against state government and county jails each year. They’ve overseen issues with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for 40 year, but started with complaints on county jails since 2008.
Ombudsman Marshall Lux says Anthony Garcia has recently written them four letters.
"Our concern is how he gets treated in the facility. He's raised some issues that have to do with health matters that we are not able to look into yet because we do not have a signed release from him to do that,” Lux explains.
Lux says that they will look into claims that the Douglas County Jail is recording all of Garcia's phone conversations including those that may violate attorney/client privilege.
Nebraska Jail Standards indicates that telephone calls to or from legal representatives shall be of reasonable lengths of time and shall not be monitored. But, Lux says, the Douglas County Jail standards are now overseen by the American Correctional Association instead of Nebraska Jail Standards. He says it was a change that the Nebraska Legislature made because they had more regulations. But, Lux says, their rules when it comes to phone recording restrictions may be left to interpretation.
"There's very good reason for maintaining confidentiality for conversations between clients and attorneys,” Lux added.
Garcia also says he's being physically and emotionally abused by corrections officers identifying at least 7 of them.
“The officers (identified) below hurt me, will not let me sleep; want me to be crazy, to lie, to believe bad things, and do bad things," Garcia wrote.
Garcia goes on to write that others, "help them to entice me to anger, to violance (sic)."
He hasn't sent these specific allegations to the Nebraska State Ombudsman’s Office. Lux says they would follow up, if he were to send those allegations to them.
"They're not supposed to be treated that way, they're supposed to be treated as humanly as we can manage while still maintaining custody and control and security in the facility," Lux concluded.
The State Ombudsman’s Office says they don't have any kind of enforcement authority, so they can't hand out punishments. They can criticize, and recommend how to do things differently from now on.