|JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The head of Florida's prisons will stand trial
in civil court for wrongful death allegations brought by the family of
an inmate who died after a confrontation with guards.
Corrections Secretary James Crosby, and the guards accused of fatally
beating Frank Valdes on death row at
The guards were acquitted in 2002 of murdering Valdes. Many of the guards
have said they will use their Fifth
Crosby was warden at the Starke prison in 1999 when Valdes was killed. Crosby was promoted to head all Florida prisons in 2003 by Gov. Jeb Bush.
||Crosby has testified that he did whatever he could to minimize abuse
to prisoners. But on including Crosby in the trial, U.S. District Judge
Timothy Corrigan said the family's attorney had shown enough evidence that
would permit a jury to decide whether Crosby was warned that some guards
were abusing prisoners, including Valdes.
Crosby's lawyer, Kevin Blazs, could not be reached for comment on Friday by The Associated Press, but he told The Florida Times-Union earlier that he was surprised by the judge's decision.
Stuart Address, an attorney for the Valdes family, applauded the inclusion.
"We believed all along that the warden had knowledge that he had renegade officers on his staff," said Address.
Corrigan did not set a date for the Jacksonville trial, instead ordering the two sides to start settlement negotiations, overseen by another judge.
The judge removed two Florida State Prison supervisors and two nurses from the case. He said none could have known what would happen to Valdes.