Federal judge reduces inmate’s award to $75,005

By Brian Bowling
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A state prison inmate who successfully sued the Department of Corrections will get less than half the amount the jury awarded him, a federal judge decided Tuesday.

Andre L. Jacobs, 29, claimed in a 2004 lawsuit that prison guards at SCI-Pittsburgh in 2003 illegally confiscated and destroyed about 150 pages of his legal documents after discovering they were part of a lawsuit against the guards. An eight-person jury deliberated for three days in 2008 before awarding Jacobs $185,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti partially granted a state motion and reduced the award to $115,000 in September 2009. The order Conti issued Tuesday further reduces five of the compensatory damage awards for mental harm and anguish from amounts ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 to $1 each, leaving him with an award of $75,005.

Jacobs has been in state custody since he was 15 years old, according to court documents. He is serving a state prison sentence of five to 18 years mostly for offenses he committed in prison. Details of his original conviction are unclear.

He also is serving a federal sentence of 17 years and six months in prison for assaulting two U.S. Marshals who were escorting him in 2005 after he lost a separate federal civil lawsuit.

Read more: Federal judge reduces inmate’s award to $75,005 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Read the original story of how André was awarded 185,000 in 2008 here. We hope that André is released soon and that he can start living again, instead of being tortured, harassed and having his court documents stolen!