State attorneys representing two former Delaware prison officials plan to file a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a federal appellate court decision allowing the family of an inmate who committed suicide to pursue claims against the administrators, according to court documents.
The state filed a motion indicating it intends to ask the high court to reverse a September precedential decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit waiving qualified immunity against government officials for actions taken by their subordinates if the officials’ own actions demonstrate an indifference to known deficiencies in policy or procedure. As a result of the Third Circuit’s ruling, the widow and children of Christopher Barkes, an inmate who hanged himself in 2004, can sue former Department of Correction Commissioner Stanley Taylor and Raphael Williams, the warden at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution at the time of Barkes’ suicide.
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