Inmate’s Lawsuit Over Violent Assault Results in State Settling for Over $1 Million

Inmate's Lawsuit Over Violent Assault Results in State Settling for Over $1 Million

COLORADO — It’s likely one of the biggest settlements with a Colorado Department of Corrections inmate, if not the biggest.

John Snorksy is an inmate serving a 30-year prison sentence for trying to kidnap someone in Aurora in 2013. Recently, a settlement of $1.1 million was made and settled between Colorado DOC employees and him.

Snorsky said in a federal lawsuit that the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) regularly put him in danger while in state jail after he agreed to help investigators look into the murder of inmate Joshua Edmonds in 2015 at Limon Correctional Facility.

In 2017, three inmates at Colorado State Penitentiary attacked Snorsky severely after several attacks on him over several months.

“He was stabbed 43 times,” said Erica Grossman, a lawyer in Denver who helped defend Snorksy in the federal case.

“He knew someone was going to attack him,” Grossman said.

Grossman said that the attack happened because Snorsky was ready to help police with their investigation into Edmonds’ death.

“After that, he was a clear target,” she said. It’s not something you should have to ask for when you give information about a major white nationalist group. He needed to be kept safe.

In the lawsuit that Snorsky originally wrote by hand and filed in federal court, he said that DOC workers left him open to a series of increasingly violent assaults and attacks by other prisoners on purpose.

The police said, “He begged for protective custody.”

During the stabbings, Snorksy was asked “through the cell intercom system if he wanted to have his cell door opened so he could come out of his cell,” the complaint said.

It was said over and over that Mr. Snorsky did not want his cell door to be opened because he was afraid that other prisoners in the day hall would attack him. Soon after, all of the prisoners’ doors in Day Hall 5 were opened, including Mr. Snorsky’s. He saw other prisoners waiting nearby to attack him.

The lawsuit also said that “about 15 to 20” prison staff members “saw Mr. Snorksy being brutally assaulted.”

Snorksy’s kidnapping case in 2013 got a lot of attention from the local media, both when it happened and when he was given his 30-year term. The Colorado DOC says he won’t be able to get release for another 10 years.

It’s not yet clear how the money will be given to a prisoner who is still serving a long term in the system he sued.

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