A civil rights lawsuit filed against a Cochise County jail supervisor by a former inmate remains active, at least until a federal judge rules on the county’s motion to dismiss the case.
Edgar Moreno contends he suffered a permanent “inoperable” left shoulder injury during a March 20, 2017 incident while housed at the county’s jail in Bisbee. He has attempted to name several defendants since filing the lawsuit in August 2017 but U.S. District Judge Cindy Jorgenson has dismissed everyone except Detention Sgt. Nicolas Saavedra.
Moreno, 43, has until March 9 to respond to a motion by Christine Roberts of the Cochise County Attorney’s Office which seeks dismissal of the case due to lack of jurisdiction. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the county’s jails, declined to comment Tuesday on the litigation.
Court records show Moreno has filed more than two dozen motions in the case, including multiple denied requests for appointment of an attorney. He has also been unsuccessful with requests to Jorgenson for a court order to preserve video recordings from the jail and the Douglas Justice Court which Moreno claims captured the 2017 incident which purportedly left him injured.
Jorgenson has ruled that the court cannot act as an investigator for Moreno. The judge also ruled Moreno does not require the assistance of a court-appointed attorney as he’s done “a satisfactory” job representing himself while jailed for 19 months.
In September 2019, Moreno was sentenced to 582 days in the Cochise County jail after pleading no-contest to one count of aggravated assault stemming from an unrelated October 2017 incident. At the time of sentencing, Moreno had spent 582 days in custody awaiting trial, including several weeks at the Arizona State Hospital in a mental competency program.
Moreno also pleaded non-contest to one count of failing to appear for one of his 2018 court hearings. He was sentenced to two years of probation on that charge as part of a plea deal.
Cochise County has taken the position that Moreno’s lawsuit should be dismissed because he failed to file a notice of claim with the county clerk before initiating litigation against a public body or public employee in Arizona. Jorgenson is expected to rule on the issue by the end of March.