Jerry Flanory, 58, of Flint, Michigan filed a lawsuit against prison officials a few years ago. It was dismissed as ‘frivolous’. The Federal Appeals Court has reinstated his lawsuit against the officials at Newberry prison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Jerry Flanory contends that not being allowed toothpaste for almost a year was ‘cruel and unusual punishment’.
Never-mind that Jerry Flanory was sent to prison for five years for assault ( I’m sure the victim would say that was cruel and unusual, too ), he wants at least three hundred and fifty thousand dollars — that’s $350,000.00 for developing a gum disease and having to have one lower left tooth removed!
Flanory maintains the dispute started over his education. Prison officials wanted him to take G.E.D. classes; Flanory already had a G.e.D. and also a diploma from a community college. It took almost a year for the prison to verify this. Flanory says as punishment, he lost his indigent status, forcing him to buy his own toothpaste. He insists he could not afford it. Kind of brings to mind that old saying “crime doesn’t pay.” This case might disprove that.
Jerry Flanory: Ex-Con Can Sue Over No Toothpaste
By allowing the lawsuit to go forward, the appeals court offered us this:
The lack of “toothpaste for 337 days and resulting health problems amount to more than a mere inconvenience or a harmless deprivation of hygiene products.”
“This court has found dental health to be of great importance,” a three-judge panel said, citing a past decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Flanory was paroled last December after serving 5 years for the assault and is acting as his own lawyer.
Fine — perhaps Jerry Flanory should have been provided with free toothpaste — we give our criminals everything else, so what’s a tube of toothpaste? What about all those stories we hear of convicts trading contraband? What about trading a candy bar or pack of smokes for toothpaste? Was there really no way possible for Flanory to brush his teeth?
What if he hadn’t assaulted someone and been behind bars — he would have been a free man and able to buy cases of the stuff is he desired to do so.
Instead of Jerry Flanory using up court time and and wasting money with his get rich off the law abiding taxpayers scheme, he should be giving speeches to kids in high school on what could happen if they choose to become a criminal.
And what about the innocent, hard working folks that cannot afford dental care, that have to choose between toothpaste and a carton of eggs? They end up losing a lot more than one lower tooth.
We have ill people, those with cancer — that lose teeth from chemo and radiation and can’t afford dentures or dental surgery — who do they sue? Where can they find a quick and easy 350K? I can promise you that each of them would accept only what they needed — teeth.
In my opinion, if our courts are going to allow this to continue and award Jerry Flanory anything, it should be nothing more than a case of toothpaste and maybe a toothbrush. He was in prison when his dental work was done, so that’s already paid for, again by law abiding tax payers that can’t afford a dentist visit.
Of all the selfish, asinine things I’ve heard of, this about takes the cake. Flanory needs to take responsibility for his own actions—had he chosen not to assault someone, he would not have been in the position he found himself in. One lost tooth and a gum disease is insignificant when you factor in all the circumstances.
I think he should visit a chemo unit or poor neighborhood, look around at those with breaking teeth, those with no teeth, those that have harmed no one, and count his blessings. Twice.
As far as the appeals court judges, what were they thinking? Or do they even think anymore? When will we quit rewarding criminal behavior?
Take the 350 grand and donate it to a dental clinic for people that really deserve help.
What are your thoughts on ‘Jerry Flanory: Ex-Con Can Sue Over No Toothpaste’ ? Cruel and unusual punishment or get rich quick?
Please tell us in the comment section below.