A civil rights group filed suit Thursday against a Florida sheriff and school district, claiming that juvenile suspects are unjustly kept in solitary confinement without cause and denied a proper education as they await trial as adults.
The Human Rights Defense Center filed suit in federal court against Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the county school district on behalf of three boys who are 16 and 17. The three are listed only by their initials and are awaiting trial on felony charges that the lawsuit does not disclose.
The lawsuit alleges that the three were kept in solitary for up to seven months and only allowed out of their 6-foot by 12-foot (2-meter by 4-meter) cells for an hour three days a week to exercise alone on a caged basketball court.
Ted Leopold, a lawyer representing the three, said the sheriff is "committing a horrible breach" of the teens' constitutional rights, including the ban on cruel and unusual punishment, by jailing them in the same manner as "hard-core convicts who have been put away for life."
"They have not been convicted of anything yet," Leopold said.
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