Former inmate's suit against county dismissed

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A lawsuit by a Penn Hills man who claimed he was wrongly incarcerated for nearly six months in the Allegheny County Jail was dismissed today.

Shawn O'Hara, who was 30 when he sued the county in June, claimed that he was jailed because he missed a restitution payment owed for a 1999 conviction for receiving stolen property. He wrote that he should have been given a prompt hearing but instead was held for nearly six months, then released.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy found that the only allegation against the county was that "it did not provide [Mr. O'Hara] with a hearing after it detained him," and the complaint "does not state how this solitary incident establishes a custom, policy or practice of Allegheny County that violates his constitutional right." Without such a custom, the county can't be liable, the judge wrote.

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Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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