Former Department of Juvenile Justice Lieutenant Sentenced on Civil Rights Charges
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated today that United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Nicole Jenice Samples, age 36, of Columbia, to one year incarceration as a result of her conviction for deprivation of civil rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 242.
Evidence presented in court established that that on January 1, 2017, Nicole Jenice Samples directed the use of excessive force as punishment for two juveniles housed at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). In response to juveniles making noise, Samples, a Lieutenant at DJJ, ordered two of her subordinate correctional officers to apply mechanical restraints to the two juveniles, directing that the leg restraints be connected to the hand restraints, a practice known as “hogtying.” Samples oversaw the application of the restraints on both juveniles. At Samples’ direction, the juveniles were left in the hogtied position for over two hours as punishment and suffered pain. DJJ policy forbids the use of restraints as punishment and specifically forbids the practice of “hogtying.” A DJJ surveillance camera captured one of the two juveniles being hogtied and left alone for hours. Following the hogtying event, Samples directed her subordinates to falsify reports related to the use of force incident.
United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon had this to say, “Being entrusted with a position of power comes with both honor and responsibility. That responsibility must not be abused. Our office is committed to addressing any willful wrongdoing taking place in our state’s prisons and detention centers. This conviction sends a message to those who choose to abuse their authority.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) at the request of, and with the assistance of, DJJ Director Freddie Pough. Assistant United States Attorney Alyssa Leigh Richardson of the Columbia office handled the case.