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Herrera v. Valentine

653 F.2d 1220 (1981)

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Herrera v. Valentine

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

653 F.2d 1220 (1981)

Facts

Jo Ann Yellow Bird (plaintiff) and her husband lived in the City of Gordon, Nebraska (defendant). They were vocal critics of police misconduct in Gordon. Investigations by both the county and an outside agency concluded that Gordon’s small police force acted inappropriately and required supervision. One evening a Gordon police officer, Clifford Valentine (defendant), attempted to arrest Yellow Bird’s husband. When Yellow Bird tried to stop Valentine, Valentine kicked her in the abdomen and threw her to the floor. Valentine then drove Yellow Bird to the county jail, refusing her requests for medical attention. On the way to the jail, Valentine threatened to kill Yellow Bird in the woods. Yellow Bird’s unborn child died in her womb, and Yellow Bird suffered physical and emotional injuries. She sued Gordon and Valentine, among other defendants, for violating her civil rights. A jury found in Yellow Bird’s favor, awarding her $300,000 in damages. The defendants appealed. They argued, among other things, that the trial court improperly instructed the jury that it could compensate Yellow Bird for violations of her constitutional rights independent of any compensation for physical and emotional injuries.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Heaney, J.)

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