Settlement Reached in Jeanna’s Act Lawsuit - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Settlement Reached in Jeanna’s Act Lawsuit

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A settlement has been reached between the United States' civil claims and private prisoner transport company Extradition Transport of America, L.L.C. (ETA). The United States had sued ETA alleging violations of the Interstate Transportation of Dangerous Criminals Act of 2000, also known as "Jeanna's Act," relating to an October 2011 escape along Interstate 94 in North Dakota.

It was the first suit ever filed under Jeanna's Act. It sought restitution and civil penalties for the escape of a prisoner from a private prisoner transport company. At the time of the escape, Joseph M. Megna was being transported from Florida to Washington to face a felony charge of child molestation in the first degree. He was considered a violent prisoner.

The ETA agreed to reimburse state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities approximately $70,000 for expenses relating to the re-capture of Megna. In addition, the company will pay a $10,000 civil monetary penalty, the maximum penalty allowed for a violation of Jeanna's Act.

"This groundbreaking lawsuit should send a clear message to the prisoner transport industry: follow the rules and keep the dangerous prisoners in your custody secure or face severe financial penalties under Jeanna's Act," says U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon.

Jeanna's Act was enacted in response to the escape of convicted murderer Kyle Bell while being transported between correctional facilities by a private prisoner transport company. Bell had sexually assaulted and murdered 11-year-old Jeanna North in Fargo, N.D., in 1993, and was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In October 1999, Bell escaped while being transferred by a private prisoner transport company. He was re-apprehended in Texas three months later.

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