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College student locked away, forgotten in DEA holding cell for four days, no food, water or toilet
Tampa Bay Times ^ | 5/3/2012 | Jeff McDonald

Posted on 05/03/2012 5:06:17 AM PDT by Shane

SAN DIEGO — A California engineering student says he was left alone in a federal holding cell for four days with no food or water, apparently forgotten by the federal drug agents who detained him.

Daniel Chong, a senior at the University of California at San Diego, said he was swept up in a Drug Enforcement Administration raid near campus and was taken to a detention facility. After questioning, he was told he would be released.

Then the DEA left him locked inside a 5-by-10-foot windowless cell.

He screamed. He kicked madly at the door. He cried like a baby.

Soon, nothing made sense, said Chong, 23. He could hear agents chatting among themselves on the other side of the heavy door and other detainees coming and going from holding tanks nearby.

Days crawled by. No food. No water. No bathroom. He remembers biting his eyeglasses and using the broken shards to scrawl a note onto his left arm.

"Sorry Mom," he tried to write. He stopped after the "S,'' too weak to continue.

On Wednesday, the top federal drug agent in San Diego issued an apology.

"I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week," the statement said, without mentioning Chong by name. "I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to. I have personally ordered an extensive review of our policies and procedures," said the statement attributed to William R. Sherman, acting special agent in charge.

The DEA acknowledged Monday that agents had left someone in a cell after a raid on April 21 — until they found him and had to call paramedics. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said that medical call came on April 25.

At the raid, DEA officials said, they apprehended nine suspects and netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, three weapons and other drugs.

"Seven suspects were brought to county detention after processing, one was released and the individual in question was accidentally left in one of the cells," spokeswoman Amy Roderick said.

Chong told the Associated Press the ordeal began hours after he went to some friends' house on April 20 to get high. Early the next morning, drug agents executing a search warrant burst through the door and eventually took nine people into custody.

Chong said he was handcuffed and left in a holding cell for about four hours. He was then moved to an interview room, where he was told he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and would be released shortly. One agent even promised to drive him home.

He was returned to a holding cell to await his release. The door swung closed sometime April 21 and didn't open again until April 25. Chong said he was in one of the middle cells, with no toilet, no water.

He said he urinated on the cell's only furniture — a metal bench — to be able to drink the fluid. He stacked a blanket, his pants and shoes on top of the bench to try to climb up and trigger a fire sprinkler on the ceiling, but failed.

The lights went out at one point and stayed off for several days, he said. All the while, Chong said, he could hear occasional footsteps and doors opening and closing, even from the cell next door.

He tried everything he could think of to get someone's attention. He lay on the floor and squinted through a tiny crack beneath the door. He could see shadows and hear muffled voices. No one came.

"It's impossible to describe hallucinations like these," he said. "I was completely insane."

In utter confusion, Chong said, he ate some of the broken glass he had used to slice his arm. He also ingested a white powdery substance the DEA said had been left in the cell inadvertently.

Suddenly, the door swung open. Chong, badly dehydrated, cramped and likely hours from death, said it took him some time to realize he was being saved.

San Diego Fire-Rescue said paramedics were summoned to the center to transport a patient who was suspected of ingesting a white powder substance. The DEA said the substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

Chong was rushed to a nearby hospital where he spent five more days recovering from problems including kidney failure, dehydration and a perforated esophagus that was the result of swallowing the broken glass.

He was not charged with any crimes. In the statement Monday, the DEA defended the raid and said the unidentified suspect was at the house to use drugs. Chong admitted smoking marijuana but said he did not know of ecstasy or weapons at the home.

Chong's attorneys filed a $20 million claim against the DEA on Wednesday, saying his treatment constitutes torture under U.S. and international law.

The five-page notice, a precursor to a lawsuit, cites damages for pain and suffering, future medical and psychiatric treatment and loss of future earnings.

"He nearly died," said Chong's lawyer, Eugene Iredale. "If he had been there another 12 to 24 hours, he probably would have died."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: chong; dea; donutwatch; lawenforcement; obama; thinblueline
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Welcome to Obama World. One step closer to dictatorship here in the USA. When Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, due process became a thing of the past.
1 posted on 05/03/2012 5:06:26 AM PDT by Shane
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To: Shane

This was no accident.

He pissed some cop off somewhere down the line.


2 posted on 05/03/2012 5:14:46 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Shane
The guy filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit yesterday. Ridiculous! Maybe $1,000 dollars he deserves?
3 posted on 05/03/2012 5:17:11 AM PDT by rawhide
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To: Shane
When Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, due process became a thing of the past.

President Bush signed this act as well.

4 posted on 05/03/2012 5:18:18 AM PDT by Michael.SF. (When you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras.)
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To: rawhide
The guy filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit yesterday. Ridiculous! Maybe $1,000 dollars he deserves?

Uncle Sam will get its money back one way or another.
5 posted on 05/03/2012 5:24:38 AM PDT by Renderofveils (My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. - Nabokov)
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To: rawhide
The guy filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit yesterday. Ridiculous! Maybe $1,000 dollars he deserves?

I'll see your $1000 and raise you $5 million. The guy goes and smokes some pot at a party and the government comes in, locks him up in a hole, and forgets about him? This isn't the way I want my government to operate.

Maybe you don't think its a big deal because he was at a bust. But, in other countries, police abuse has had a way of escalating. How'd you like something like that to happen to you over something other than drugs... maybe a weapons charge (wrong size magazine in a restrictive state)... maybe a minor fight?

6 posted on 05/03/2012 5:25:00 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Michael.SF.

Medical costs will be more than $1000.


7 posted on 05/03/2012 5:25:18 AM PDT by chopperman
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To: Shane

What is the review that is needed?

Fire the jack-holes that put him in there an then walked away immediately. They then should be brought up on charges of attempted murder. If ever there was an example of “cruel and unusual punishment” this is it.

And the DEA better warm up the checkbook.


8 posted on 05/03/2012 5:26:33 AM PDT by VanDeKoik (If case you are wondering, I'm STILL supporting Newt.)
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To: rawhide

Well, you need to punish the DEA somehow.

A lesson needs to be given somehow about this behavior.

I don’t know if the kid deserves $20M, but I know I want the DEA to be sent a message.

$1,000 is way too low for the student, though.


9 posted on 05/03/2012 5:29:26 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: rawhide

Four days with no water and no food is worth a Hell of a lot more than $1,000. He really could have died because of this treatment.


10 posted on 05/03/2012 5:31:57 AM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Travis McGee

Lawsuit or no lawsuit, this will become more commonplace.


11 posted on 05/03/2012 5:32:05 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: Shane
So a druggie buy some drugs at a flophouse, passes out, and gets swept up with the rest of the trash?

Why I don't feel outraged?

12 posted on 05/03/2012 5:32:09 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the sociopath.)
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To: ltc8k6

20 million is a drop in the bucket for DEA’s budget, and considering how much they seize in drug money and other assets, it really is nothing.

Here’s a good message for the DEA. You’re fired, all of you. Top to bottom.


13 posted on 05/03/2012 5:34:22 AM PDT by Molon Labbie (Prep. Now.)
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To: VanDeKoik

I agree I hate the whole concept of police being exempt from being sued. Why should the government pay a day because some idiot dropped the ball. The idiot that forgot him should pay!


14 posted on 05/03/2012 5:35:44 AM PDT by TexasFreeper2009
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To: VanDeKoik

Obviously an oversite screw up, the kind of thing that leads you a child running into a bathroom and drowning in a tub or toilet.

And the government must pay, dearly, for this guy’s suffering and change its procedures such that this can never happen again - much like “miranda”.

Otherwise, if it only cost a couple million dollars, wouldn’t YOU potentially throw an evil man, say a suspected Guantanimo terroist or your loser brother-in-law adulterer in a cell and not return until he “accidentally” died 5 days later? This should not ever happen again.


15 posted on 05/03/2012 5:37:04 AM PDT by If You Want It Fixed - Fix It
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To: Lazamataz

“Whoops, you’re dead.”

“Accidentally” leaving folks locked up in trucks or containers etc is a good way to kill more at a time.


16 posted on 05/03/2012 5:37:37 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Shane

Every official involved should be tried and imprisoned. This is a typical story of government bureaucracy that came out of the Soviet Union. Government workers in general are congenitally inept and lazy and are only interested in cashing their checks until filing for their fat retirement.

I wish I could be on this young man’s jury.


17 posted on 05/03/2012 5:42:02 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Oh please. He’s just an engineering student that smoked some pot. All the most talented ones did when I was in school.

Everyone responsible should be locked in a cell just like him.


18 posted on 05/03/2012 5:42:27 AM PDT by varyouga
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To: Shane
He also ingested a white powdery substance the DEA said had been left in the cell inadvertently

Who leaves meth lying around a cell? Who ingests supposedly unknown white powdery substances? Neither he nor DEA are accidental tourists in this.

19 posted on 05/03/2012 5:43:11 AM PDT by bgill
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To: rawhide

Not cool. Don’t enable police states.


20 posted on 05/03/2012 5:44:46 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: Shane

While unfortunately the taxpayers will be on the hook for this, at bare minimum those responsible must be terminated immediately and never be allowed to hold ANY government job for the rest of their lives.

It is so easy to sue the big pockets of all of us and let the actual people responsible go. Fire their boss also as at one time we use to hold the boss accountable for the actions of those who worked for him/her. Remember the buck stops here? Now, thanks to progressives, the buck does not exist so they can claim it never got there.


21 posted on 05/03/2012 5:45:50 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
So a druggie buy some drugs at a flophouse, passes out, and gets swept up with the rest of the trash? Why I don't feel outraged?

Because you ignored the part where they nearly killed him from dehydration? Because it's a crime you don't like?

But when they come for you, because you own a gun they don't like, I'll still go to bat for ya.

22 posted on 05/03/2012 5:46:43 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: ltc8k6

Don’t worry, if the kid wins the lawsuit he will end up with about $1,000 after the lawyers and the government get their cut.


23 posted on 05/03/2012 5:49:41 AM PDT by Tupelo ( 2012 TEA PARTYER but no longer a Republican)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

These DEA idiots will get a secret commendation from Zero for breaking new ground as we move “Forward” toward a totalitarian state.


24 posted on 05/03/2012 5:50:16 AM PDT by bytesmith
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To: rawhide
Cool. If you are ever locked up...even if you did something wrong...it's nice to know that you think an American Citizen deserves to be treated like this. Perhaps they can give your family the $1K if you don't make it.

The second we let our government treat ANY of us like this and then get away with it with nothing more than a slap on the wrist is the second we lose the Republic. It's sad to know that there are those out there like you who would justify away our rights.

25 posted on 05/03/2012 5:53:51 AM PDT by NELSON111
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

“Why I don’t feel outraged?” if you feel no outrage then you have no sense of history or understand due process. If a druggie, as you put it, can be held in this manner you or anyone else can be held in this manner. You may recall Martin Niemöller’s famous quotation:
“ First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade
unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

You may want to think about this before you so cavalierly dismiss this incident.


26 posted on 05/03/2012 5:57:38 AM PDT by Shane (When Injustice Becomes Law, RESISTANCE Becomes DUTY.----T.Jefferson)
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To: ltc8k6
19 million for the lawyer - 1 million for the victim - that's how the corrupt system works.
27 posted on 05/03/2012 5:58:33 AM PDT by Apercu ("Obama is graffiti on the wall of American History")
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To: Michael.SF.

And your point is? The were BOTH wrong!


28 posted on 05/03/2012 5:59:21 AM PDT by Shane (When Injustice Becomes Law, RESISTANCE Becomes DUTY.----T.Jefferson)
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To: bgill
Who ingests unknown powdery substances? People who are locked in a cell without food and water for days...that's who. Use your head.

Ever been dehydrated? Never been through military survival school? If you had...you would not be asking that question. There's not a whole lot of rational thoughts going on when you've been without water for that length of time. You tend to make very poor decisions...ESPECIALLY if you are not trained to recognize the signs of dehydrations. Heck...There are posts on this thread that aren't rational and I assume the posters ARE hydrated. Imagine what would happen if they had no water for 2-3 days.

29 posted on 05/03/2012 6:00:33 AM PDT by NELSON111
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To: rawhide

“The guy filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit yesterday. Ridiculous! Maybe $1,000 dollars he deserves?”

You may want to rethink that position, and hope that you never find yourself locked up in a similar fashion.


30 posted on 05/03/2012 6:02:25 AM PDT by Shane (When Injustice Becomes Law, RESISTANCE Becomes DUTY.----T.Jefferson)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
“Why I don't feel outraged?”

Because you are a leftist control freak.

31 posted on 05/03/2012 6:02:35 AM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: bgill

Reading over it again, I had the impression he ingested it after he had been in there for a few days, and was hallucinating. Possibly about the same time he was eating the shards of glass : |

This is troubling on sooo many levels.

May God guide our course.
Tatt


32 posted on 05/03/2012 6:03:35 AM PDT by thesearethetimes... ("Courage, is fear that has said its prayers." Dorothy Bernard)
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To: NELSON111

I am not a fan of the DEA, nor am I sympathetic to a druggie getting caught. While 4 days in a cell without water, food or toilet is excessive, this is a healthy 23 year old and he was not beaten, tortured or denigrated in any way by his captors.

Think of all the people that survive for days under the rubble of their homes because of earthquakes, tornados, etc.

Basically, this kid lawyered up and is sensationalizing the experience for maximum payout. And the newspaper is eating it up because it gives them the chance to take their pound of flesh from the government, which will somehow translate into “Bush’s Fault”

I am not saying he doesn’t a payout. I am just saying that this seems a bit over sensationaized.


33 posted on 05/03/2012 6:14:30 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Would you rather eat dog food or cat food? Guess it's Romney 2012.)
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To: Shane

No one scan survive 40 days without water. The guy is dead or a liar,


34 posted on 05/03/2012 6:14:34 AM PDT by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: mountainlion
No one scan survive 40 days without water. The guy is dead or a liar.

You misplaced your decimal point. The article says 400 days.

35 posted on 05/03/2012 6:17:45 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Four days without water can kill.


36 posted on 05/03/2012 6:18:37 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: EQAndyBuzz

I am not a fan of the DEA, nor am I sympathetic to a druggie getting caught. While 4 days in a cell without water, food or toilet is excessive, this is a healthy 23 year old and he was not beaten, tortured or denigrated in any way by his captors.

Think of all the people that survive for days under the rubble of their homes because of earthquakes, tornados, etc.

Basically, this kid lawyered up and is sensationalizing the experience for maximum payout. And the newspaper is eating it up because it gives them the chance to take their pound of flesh from the government, which will somehow translate into “Bush’s Fault”

I am not saying he doesn’t deserve a payout. He does. I am just saying that this seems a bit over sensationalized.


37 posted on 05/03/2012 6:19:14 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Would you rather eat dog food or cat food? Guess it's Romney 2012.)
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To: rawhide

$500,000 is about right.


38 posted on 05/03/2012 6:22:05 AM PDT by frithguild (You can call me Snippy the Anti-Freeper)
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To: Shane

I agree with many of the posters on here. Make this department of the DEA an example and fire all of them today.

Forgetting to turn the lights out before going home is one thing. Forgetting a human being in a cell to the point of near death is a whole different level of incompetence.


39 posted on 05/03/2012 6:22:42 AM PDT by Eagle of Liberty (We the People are coming!!)
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To: rawhide

Lock me up to the point I am forced to drink my urine... yeah, $20 million sounds about right.


40 posted on 05/03/2012 6:22:50 AM PDT by autumnraine (America how long will you be so deaf and dumb to the tumbril wheels carrying you to the guillotine?)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Some people need to go to jail for this.


41 posted on 05/03/2012 6:25:11 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Lazamataz

“Four days without water can kill.”

Sure it can. And people have gone longer in worse conditions and survived. A 97 year old woman survived 8 days without water or food during the 2004 earthquake in Iran. How many people have we read about that survived at sea for a week, just drinking their own urine?

We hear and read human interest stories like this all the time and we admire their courage. This is another one of those stories.

I admire the kids courage. What I don’t admire is the attorney who is going to turn this kid into Bobby Sands.


42 posted on 05/03/2012 6:25:19 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Would you rather eat dog food or cat food? Guess it's Romney 2012.)
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To: mountainlion

40? You sure you read that right? It was FOUR days.


43 posted on 05/03/2012 6:26:28 AM PDT by autumnraine (America how long will you be so deaf and dumb to the tumbril wheels carrying you to the guillotine?)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Give him the money, ya cheapskate.


44 posted on 05/03/2012 6:27:16 AM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!! (credit: WilliamofCarmichael))
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To: EQAndyBuzz
While 4 days in a cell without water, food or toilet is excessive

Excessive? They FORGOT about him.
45 posted on 05/03/2012 6:28:23 AM PDT by Eagle of Liberty (We the People are coming!!)
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To: Shane
I don't care what he was arrested for this is inexcusable.

Not only does he deserve a hefty cash award but everyone involved in this needs to be fired. They are unfit to serve in law enforcement.

46 posted on 05/03/2012 6:28:40 AM PDT by sjmjax (Politicans are like bananas - they start out green, turn yellow, then rot.)
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To: bgill

“Who leaves meth lying around a cell? “

Setup gone wrong? Maybe they were wanting him to overdose while in custody. Bam! They have their perp... but “unfortunately he died.”


47 posted on 05/03/2012 6:29:02 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Think of all the people that survive for days under the rubble of their homes because of earthquakes, tornados, etc.

Think of the even more who don't. Survival length in a situation like this is a bell curve. Some die very early and some survive many days. The press makes a big deal about those they pull out after a week, but not so much for the bodies they pull out after three days who were trapped but died of dehydration over those days.

In a situation like this I'm and eye for and eye type of guy. Just lock everyone who was involved in cells without food or water for four days. Those who survive can keep their jobs. And then cut the office's budget to match the new and smaller staff.

48 posted on 05/03/2012 6:29:15 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
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To: starlifter

Agreed.


49 posted on 05/03/2012 6:29:20 AM PDT by autumnraine (America how long will you be so deaf and dumb to the tumbril wheels carrying you to the guillotine?)
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To: rawhide

“The guy filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit yesterday. Ridiculous! Maybe $1,000 dollars he deserves?”

I figure you should demonstrate that you are willing to be incarcerated under similar circumstances for $1,000...I am sure we could get a few folks here to kick in just to see you sweat...understand of course, that when you experience this you do not know that it will be over in four days...might be a week or two...that is part of the pain and suffering...


50 posted on 05/03/2012 6:30:26 AM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a tea party descendant - steeped in the Constitutional legacy handed down by the Founders)
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