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NM man who pulled own tooth while in solitary confinement for drunk driving is awarded $22M

"He entered this facility with overt symptoms of mental depression," said civil rights attorney Matt Coyte, "But that's not the issue. ... He was stuck in a 6-foot-by-11-foot cell with a concrete bench for a bed. And he sat in that cell. We had documentary evidence that he didn't get out for anything — for recreation, a shower — for months at a time."

Dona Ana County Sheriff's Dept. via AP

These photos show Stephen Slevin, on the left, in Aug. 2005, at the time of his arrest for drunken driving, and on the right in May 2007, shortly before being released from solitary confinement. A federal jury has awarded $22 million to Slevin, a New Mexico man who was kept in solitary confinement for two years and forced to pull his own tooth after his arrest for drunken driving in Dona Ana County. Civil rights attorney Matt Coyte said the jury awarded Slevin, 58, the damages Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 after a six-day trial in Santa Fe.

Slevin was finally released in June 2007, Coyte said. He was never convicted. Read the full story.