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Hillsborough County inmate sues Sheriff over denied law library access

in Local Courts by

From within the Hillsborough County Jail, an inmate claims he was deprived of constitutional rights after being denied access to the facility’s law library.

Robert McDuffie, 57, filed a complaint in Hillsborough Circuit Court against the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, naming a captain and several deputies.

In the petition, McDuffie claims he wrote a civil complaint against one HCSO officer, referred to as Ms. “A. Hijazi,” back in May 2016. The filing was regarding his denial of access to the library.

After filing the first complaint, McDuffie reports that several HSCO officials began “harming” him and confiscating his mail and all legal materials in his possession.

“And these unlawful acts by HCSO abandons [the] well-established principle of law,” McDuffie’s complaint says. The complaint was sent via USPS Oct. 18, 2016, to the circuit court and was filed Oct. 21.

Filed without the benefit of an attorney, McDuffie’s complaint seeks damages for a violation of his due-process rights.

McDuffie is a veteran of the military — and of the judicial system – having served multiple prison terms since at least 1983.

On Feb. 17, 2015, he was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon, but no intent to kill. In June 2015, he was sentenced to five years of probation.

Then, on April 15, he again was arrested on four felony charges dating back to March 2016.

McDuffie — represented by public defender Douglas Wayne “Doug” Baker — was subsequently accused of burglary of a residence, dealing stolen property, defrauding a pawnbroker and grand theft.

McDuffie is currently in jail waiting for trial which will determine his sentence for these latest offenses.


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