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Rios v. Redding

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Status: Open
Court:
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Issues: Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct, Transgender Rights

Lambda Legal and the University of Denver School of Law, Civil Rights Clinic filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Divinity Rios urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s order that dismissed her complaint despite controlling Supreme Court precedent in Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994) that established that prison officials have a constitutional duty to protect vulnerable incarcerated people from sexual violence.

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Lambda Legal and the University of Denver School of Law, Civil Rights Clinic filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Divinity Rios urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s order that dismissed her complaint despite controlling Supreme Court precedent in Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994) that established that prison officials have a constitutional duty to protect vulnerable incarcerated people from sexual violence.

While in custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Ms. Rios, a transgender woman, suffered multiple sexual assaults while incarcerated at a men’s prison. Despite Ms. Rios’s specific reports that she was being extorted for sexual favors, prison officials moved her to general population, where she was assaulted. She filed a suit alleging violations of her Eighth Amendment right prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment under precedent established in Farmer.

In dismissing her lawsuit, the district court ignored Farmer and Tenth Circuit caselaw to effectively close the door on Ms. Rios’s constitutional claim.

Amici curiae include Dee Farmer, the first openly transgender plaintiff to bring a case before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Farmer v. Brennan. Her case has been relied on in thousands of cases concerning liability of prison officials who acted with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to an incarcerated person and was a major catalyst for the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”), which was signed into law in 2003. 

Additional amici curiae include Black and Pink National, Center for Constitutional Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, Just Detention International, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Trans Equality, Transgender Law Center, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.