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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Inmate's Lawsuit Alleges Retaliation by Guard, Constitutional Violations in Red Onion, Keen Mountain

Written by: Sam Orlando

Roanoke, VA – An inmate at Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, alleging serious violations of his civil rights under the 8th and 14th Amendments.

KeyAnta Lamont Moore, the plaintiff, is suing an officer Smith, a property officer at Keen Mountain Prison, and potentially other unnamed staff members. The suit, filed on November 3, 2023, with the case number 7:23-cv-00722-EKD-CKM, alleges that staff tampered with the plaintiff's mail and retaliated against him by stealing his property.

Claims of Constitutional Violations

In the complaint, Moore details two primary claims. The first alleges that the staff at Red Onion State Prison are interfering with his ability to file grievances by not processing his forms and tampering with his mail. Moore claims this conduct represents a clear violation of his constitutional rights, specifically citing the 8th Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and the 14th Amendment, which grants due process under the law.

The second claim involves an incident on August 16, 2023, where the defendant, Mr. Smith, allegedly informed Moore of an impending transfer and made a remark implying he was aware of Moore's ongoing attempts to address grievances through paperwork. Moore suggests that his property went missing during the transfer as retaliation for his complaints against Keen Mountain Correctional Center staff, a situation he describes as a violation of his 8th and 14th Amendment rights.

Seeking Justice and Remedies

Moore has requested $30,000 in damages, the covering of all legal fees, and the termination of officer Smith.

The complaint outlines Moore's efforts to utilize the prison's grievance process and indicates that his attempts have been systematically ignored or obstructed. Moore’s allegations, if proven, could expose serious administrative misconduct within the Virginia Department of Corrections.

A Call for Accountability

This lawsuit shines a light on the ongoing challenges inmates face when seeking to exercise their rights within the correctional system. The case underscores the importance of prison oversight and the enforcement of federal laws designed to protect the civil rights of all individuals, including incarcerated persons.

As Moore awaits a response to his suit, this case may serve as a critical examination of the practices within the walls of Red Onion State Prison and possibly beyond. The court's decision could have implications for how inmate grievances are handled in the future, ensuring that constitutional rights are upheld within the correctional system.

Court Proceedings Anticipated

The Virginia Department of Corrections has not issued a statement regarding the lawsuit as of the time of this report. Breaking Through News will update this report when the Department files a response in Court.

For more updates on this developing story, stay tuned to our news coverage.

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