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Press Release

Federal Corrections Officer Convicted of Civil Rights Charges
Related to Fatal Assault

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury in Orlando, Fla, found Erin Sharma, a Bureau of Prisons corrections officer, guilty today on felony federal civil rights charges related to a fatal assault on an inmate in March 2005. Sharma was convicted on two charges, one count of conspiring to violate the federal civil rights of inmate Richard Delano, and a second count of violating Delano’s civil rights by arranging for another inmate to assault Delano. Each count carries a sentence of up to life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing hearing has been set for Oct. 26, 2009.

The evidence at trial showed that on Feb. 28, 2005, Sharma and a co-conspirator agreed to move Delano into the cell of another inmate at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla. The evidence also showed that Sharma and the co-conspirator knew that the inmate was likely to assault Delano, and that this move was in retaliation for a prior altercation between Delano and Sharma. Sharma also encouraged the inmate to assault Delano. The co-conspirator moved Delano into the inmate’s cell on March 1, 2005. On March 4, 2005, the inmate assaulted Delano. Delano later died from the injuries he suffered during that assault.

"This prosecution and the jury’s verdict makes clear that no one is above the law and the Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal civil rights laws that the vast majority of law enforcement officers work tirelessly to uphold and enforce," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Indeed, it is appalling that a federal corrections officer would engage in a scheme that resulted in the fatal beating of an inmate that she was sworn to protect."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce Ambrose and Carolyn Adams from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Senior Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Douglas Kern from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jim Raby was the lead investigator on the case.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 09-736