Michigan jury says hugs in prison allowed, awards inmate $1,251

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2015 2:13 PM

By Serena Maria Daniels

DETROIT (Reuters) - A Michigan inmate was awarded $1,251 after a jury ruled his rights were violated when a guard barred him from hugging his wife during a prison visit.

Kevin King, 52, who is serving a life sentence for a 1982 murder, was awarded $1 in Detroit federal court last week for a violation of his First Amendment rights and $1,250 as punitive damages.

Jurors found that prison officer Tiffaney Williams retaliated against King and his wife for previous complaints when Williams ordered them not to touch each other during a 2012 visit at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.

Judge Matthew Leitman ordered the case go to trial last fall, saying Williams undervalued human contact and that touching each other was the Kings' "sole form of intimacy." Williams had previously said in court documents that her actions were not constitutional violations.

(Editing by Bill Trott and Ben Klayman)