Settlement Talks Ordered In Former Inmate’s Lawsuit Against State Prison

Nubian T. Amon-Ra
Nubian T. Amon-Ra ADC intake (2013) and release into community supervision (2018).

A former longtime Sierra Vista resident who filed nearly 20 federal lawsuits against law enforcement agencies and corrections officers following his conviction for a 2012 aggravated assault incident will be back in court in April, but this time he’ll be arguing for a financial payout from two employees of a privately run prison.

Nubian T. Amon-Ra alleges two employees of a prison owned and operated by The GEO Group in Kingman put his life in danger in 2017 by suggesting to other inmates that he was “a snitch.” GEO is contracted by the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC) to house thousands of male inmates across the state.

Attorneys for the GEO employees tried last summer to have the lawsuit dismissed by arguing that Amon-Ra failed to properly utilize DOC’s inmate grievance process. However, U.S. District Senior Judge Roslyn Silver denied the dismissal request in January and then ordered the parties to appear April 27 at the U.S. District Court in Prescott for a settlement conference in hopes of resolving the case without a trial.

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Court records show Amon-Ra sued multiple defendants from 2013 to 2018, notably the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, Sierra Vista Police Department, and DOC.  His cases alleged of prisoner rights and due process violations, including two which challenged Amon-Ra’s conviction on the basis of previously undisclosed information about misconduct by one of the Sierra Vista officers involved in his arrest.

By December 2018, judges had dismissed all of Amon-Ra’s lawsuits except the GEO case and one he filed in 2017 against Corizon Health, a company contracted by DOC to provide healthcare services for state prison inmates. In the Corizon case, Amon-Ra alleged he experienced poor medical care when he was an inmate at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Douglas and then in Buckeye.

Corizon employees repeatedly denied Amon-Ra’s requests for cataract surgery, even though some of the medical providers documented an urgency for the surgery, which was characterized as standard eye care. Company policy reportedly did not call for approval of the surgery, even if the non-treatment led to blindness in the affected eye.

Amon-Ra wrote more than a dozen documents to Corizon and DOC officials detailing his worsening medical condition from the untreated cataract. He later underwent the surgery while housed in the Cochise County jail where he was temporarily housed for hearings on whether his conviction should be overturned.

In March 2019, a federal judge denied a request by Corizon to dismiss Amon-Ra’s lawsuit.  An experienced civil litigator was then appointed by the court to undertake settlement negotiations on Amon-Ra’s behalf. A settlement was announced in June 2019, but details of the resolution are not public.

Amon-Ra completed his DOC community supervision in August 2019. He now resides in Tucson.