Crime & Courts Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

New suit brought against probation firm Sentinel

Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:53 PM
Last updated Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015 1:05 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Another allegation of false arrest and imprisonment has been filed against the private probation company Sentinel Offender Services.

In the 12th legal action against Sen­tinel in recent months, attorney John Long is seeking class-action status for Nathan R. Mantooth and all others who have been or might be arrested because Sentinel staffers say they have violated terms of their misdemeanor probation sentences.

Long is also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Sentinel from seeking the arrest of anyone sentenced in Richmond County State Court without an independent legal review of each warrant.

Long contends Mantooth and two other recent clients who say they were falsely jailed represent the tip of an iceberg because an estimated 10,000 Sentinel warrants have not yet been served.

Mantooth pleaded guilty Jan. 23 in State Court to a traffic offense, improper lane change. According to court documents, he paid his $420 fine and completed a court-ordered defensive driving class by the end of the month.

According to the lawsuit, Man­­tooth took time off work Jan. 31 and Feb. 15 to go to the Sentinel office and show proof that he completed the driving course and to attend to anything a probation officer might want of him. On both occasions, he was told his case had not been entered into the computer system yet.

On Feb. 26, Sentinel employee Kayla White swore under oath that Mantooth had violated his probation by not completing his driving class, not reporting to the probation officer and not paying Sentinel $103. Though Sentinel has access to court records with Man­tooth’s phone number and address, he contends he was never notified of any violation of his probation.

On March 18, when Man­tooth was pulled over in Co­lum­bia County for driving without a seat belt, the officer had to arrest him on the Sen­tinel warrant. He was jailed for a day, had to pay $103 to Sentinel to get out of jail and was disgraced by the publication of his picture on jail media sites, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of private companies being empowered to have people jailed to collect debts the companies claim are owed and the constitutionality of a judicial function being turned over to for-profit businesses.

The lawsuit estimates that more than 1,000 people could be potential members of the proposed class-action petition.

Cases against Sentinel are assigned to Judge Daniel J. Craig, who has scheduled a hearing today in a similar lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who claims he was falsely arrested and jailed on a Sentinel warrant.

Comments (1) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Jan Warren Holley
Jan Warren Holley 04/04/13 - 06:30 pm

Sentinel robs from the poor and takes the money for the rich.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs