Civil rights suit denied by state court

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By Susan Sharp

 The state appeals court has told a Campbell County man he has now exhausted all avenues in his attempt to sue for an alleged civil rights violation.

It also agreed with the lower court’s decision that Denzil Russ Partin and his wife, Mary Partin’s, rights were not violated in January 2002 when they were arrested.

The state court further said when the lower court rejected the Partin’s claim as a matter of law, it was accurate in the ruling.

The arrest came after officers went to the couple’s home to revoke Denzil Partin’s bail. However, when authorities arrived Denzil Partin refused to cooperate, the court records said. In fact, he was armed with what “appeared to be a rifle,” the record said.

Earlier this month the state court of appeals issued its opinion in the case.

In it the court said the trial court was correct in dismissing the Partin’s claim in which they sued Campbell County and numerous state and local law enforcement authorities.

The Partins had alleged that in January 2002 their rights were violated following an extended armed standoff with police, the opinion said.

But after reviewing the case the justices said authorities were justified in the arrest because there was “sufficient probable cause to” arrest Denzil Partin, the opinion said. Mary Partin’s arrest was also justified in the justices’ opinion. The officers involved in the standoff were valid in her warrant less arrest because they had reason to think she had either “committed (an offense) or was about to commit an offense” when she fled the scene following gunshots being heard.

While the Partins claimed in the suit they had been the victims of excessive force at the hands of police, the court of appeals disagreed.

Denzil Partin was on bail after allegedly committing violent felonies when the standoff occurred. Because of this he was considered a “violent felon who needed to be taken into custody,” he had repeatedly threatened officers who had come to arrest him and had also fired a gun at them, the opinion said. The court found nothing to support the excessive force claim. Regarding the arrest of Mary Partin, the court said she was not subjected to excessive force either. In fact, there was no evidence to prove she was touched by police until she was handcuffed and she was not harmed when that happened, the justices said.

As the opinion continued, the justices also said the lower court was correct when it dismissed the Partins’ claim as a matter of law.

It remanded the case back to the trial court level for the collection of costs only.