Inmate wants to sue Corrections for mistreatment

REYNALDO Manila, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence for the death of his six-month-old goddaughter in Nov. 2000, may file a lawsuit in federal court against the CNMI Department of Corrections for mistreatment.

According to Manila’s letter to the District Court for the NMI, he is not receiving adequate treatment while incarcerated.

He said he was diagnosed with a retina-detachment in his left eye in Feb. 2016 and underwent surgery in June 2016.

In July 2016, Manila was seen by Dr. Dennis Williams of Marianas Eye Institute who recommended cataract surgery for the inmate.

Manila said despite three recommendations from Dr. Williams then-Corrections Commissioner Georgia M. Cabrera denied his medical treatment.

He said according to a Corrections medical officer, Cabrera believed that his surgery was not necessary as his condition was not life-threatening.

In Sept. 2017, upon the approval of the new commissioner, Vince Attao, Manila finally had cataract surgery at the Commonwealth Health Center, but following a follow-up appointment with Dr. Williams in Oct. 2017, Manila said he learned that the retinal detachment surgery was unsuccessful.

“My left eye vision is blurry,” he said in his letter to the federal court. “I am afraid that I might lose my vision…and feel that I am being punished [because I am] not receiving adequate treatment while incarcerated.”

He appealed to the federal court for help as he cannot afford to pay a lawyer to represent him in the lawsuit he is planning to file.

In response to Manila’s letter, Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy said he can file a civil complaint concerning his treatment while incarcerated if he wished to, but the court is not allowed to give legal advice.

She said the clerk’s office can help Manila with court procedures and forms.

Kennedy also told Manila that he can file his complaint by himself or “pro se” and may apply to proceed without pre-paying court fees.

According to court documents, Manila has applied to proceed pro se.

Manila was 39 years old when he was sentenced for the death of his six-month-old goddaughter in June 2002. He was the infant’s baby-sitter. According to a doctor who testified in court, the baby was shaken “very hard,” consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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