It took a jury less than an hour Thursday to decide that Juana Villegas deserved $200,000 for having her rights violated by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office when deputies shackled her during labor.
It was far less than the $1.2 million Villegas’ attorneys wanted. Sheriff Daron Hall was unimpressed and said his office planned to appeal, “whether it was a dollar or a million dollars.”
“Really, it’s not a surprise to us,” he said. “We’re anxious to get our (appeals) case heard.”
But the case brought nationwide criticism of the way Nashville treats immigrants and incarcerated women. It changed the way the sheriff’s office handles pregnant inmates. And it drew negative attention to Metro’s legal team, whose decisions and conduct were questioned not only by the presiding judge but also by other attorneys and at least one Metro councilman.
“Certainly the judge in the case had strong opinions about Nashville’s performance as well,” said Councilman Ronnie Steine. “All we can do is learn from it and try to avoid this in the future.”