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News Link • Police State

Detention officers hit with $855K judgment in abuse lawsuit

• azcentral Michael Kiefer

A Phoenix-area man accused - and later acquitted - of murdering his infant son in 2003 won a second legal battle this month when a jury found two Maricopa County Sheriff's detention officers liable for abuse and awarded him $855,000 in civil damages.

Delano Yanes, of Peoria, was charged with killing and sodomizing his infant son in 2003. On the night he was booked into Maricopa County Jail, he was beaten by detention officers John Noble and Santos Hernandez, who in turn accused Yanes of assaulting them.

On Friday, a Superior Court civil jury found Noble and Hernandez liable for malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil rights violations.

In September 2003, Yanes was home alone with his 11-month-old son when the child stopped breathing. He and an Arizona Public Service Co. worker tried to revive the baby with CPR, but the child died.

The child's heart had ruptured - possibly from the CPR - and his diaper was filled with feces and blood. Prosecutors theorized that Yanes had sodomized the baby and the baby's heart exploded from the trauma.

Yanes was arrested at his son's viewing by Peoria police and taken to the Madison Street Jail.

There, he claimed, as he was being escorted to his cell by Noble, he was told to grab a roll of toilet paper - and from that moment, two different stories emerged.

Noble and Hernandez claimed that Yanes pushed Noble into a wall, bruising his forehead. Yanes claimed he turned around and "a black glove was headed toward my face," knocking him out. "I woke up in a pool of blood," he said in a court deposition. There was a foot in the center of his back holding him down.

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