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Settlement Finalized to Resolve Former Federal Prisoner’s Claim

August 14, 2009

Springfield, Ill. – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois announced that a signed settlement agreement, effective today, concludes a damage claim by a former prisoner at Marion Penitentiary. The prisoner, Hakeem Shaheed, sought $2 million for an incident on October 3, 2005. On that day, he attacked a correctional officer, and was restrained and taken to Health Services and the Special Housing Unit.

In his complaint, Shaheed made many claims of mistreatment about this and other incidents. The Bureau of Prisons and the FBI investigated those claims and determined that the claims were mistaken or disputed, as shown by the United States in its trial memorandum filed with the court in the Southern District of Illinois. Shaheed reduced his demand by more than $1.9 million, and settled for $48,000 payable by the United States. There is no payment by any correctional officer.

Under terms of the settlement, there is no recognition of wrong-doing. The settlement states explicitly that there is no admission of liability or fault by the United States or any employee: “it is specifically denied that they are liable to the plaintiff.” Instead, all parties, including the plaintiff and his attorney, agreed in writing that this settlement was simply “by all parties for the purpose of compromising disputed claims.”

The United States and several correctional officers were represented by James A. Lewis, Civil Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, in a case referred to this District.

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