Complete Absence of Evidence Defeated Wendy Muth's Assault Claim

Blast Zone No. 3270 - 1 Comment
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Deputy Wendy Muth's Lies:
Deputy Wendy Muth
Deputy Wendy Muth

Assault charges filed against an inmate by Deputy Wendy Muth of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) could not be substantiated due to lack of evidence despite her every opportunity to gather any evidence that existed and her knowledge that doing so would be necessary to sustain the charge. This conclusion can be made based on the facts. The facts are that no evidence was produced, all law enforcement officers know the importance of documenting physical injuries if the occur, and she had plenty of time to photography injuries or seek medical attention.

The case in question involved an inmate that threw a handful of spicy chips in the faces of deputies that were entering his cell to take him to solitary confinement. The inmate quickly became cooperative once the deputies made physical contact with him in the cell, the deputies gave him wedgies while he was trying to walk with them to disciplinary, and one of the deputies broke his arm while he was face down on a mattress in the solitary cell. Muth was only involved in the initial cell extraction and not the arm breaking. Still, she lied to help her fellow deputies try to make it look as if the broken arm was the result of taking control of a combative inmate. Specifically, she said that she was kicked, slipped on the spicy chips, and fell to the ground. Her exact words were, "I got kicked high in the stomach by Inmate Sullivan's foot. It put me off balance and as I stumbled to regain my footing I slipped on the broken up chips on the cell floor and fell backwards on to my bottom." She later told a detective that she experienced pain on a scale of 4-5 on a 1-10 scale. That formed the basis for a federal indictment filed by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Greg Nyhus charging the inmate with assault on a federal officer resulting in bodily injury. Nyhus concluded correctly that the inmate was in federal custody pursuant to a contract with the U.S. Marshals and the MCSO, so there was federal jurisdiction, had she really been kicked there would have been an assault, and had injuries been shown Nyhus' burden would have been met.

The case fell apart when the MCSO was forced to admit that they had no pictures of any injuries suffered by Muth and that Muth never sought medical attention. Nyhus still persisted with the injury claim saying that the federal statutes define injuries to include physical pain no matter how fleeting or temporary, so a claim of pain is a claim of injury. The problem with that is that she claimed to have experienced pain on a scale of 4 or 5 out of 10 and described the cause of the injury as something that would leave a mark. Defense counsel shared the records with Dr. Stanley Sheridan who is regarded as a bruise expert. Sheridan concluded that if someone were to fall on their butt and experience pain as she claimed that there would be a visible mark and bruising afterwards. The fact that Muth failed to document her alleged injury was a fact that the government could not overcome because all jail guards know the importance of documenting injuries. Another fact weighing against her was her weight. As anyone can tell from her picture she is a large woman. According to Sheridan fat bruises easier than muscle, so while some people might conclude that she had plenty of natural cushioning to protect her bottom from bruising, the truth is the opposite. Someone as fat as her landing on her butt as she described would not escape without bruising. That is a medical fact.

Eventually Nyhus was replaced by a different prosecutor that offered the defendant time served if he pled guilty to assaulting a federal officer without bodily injury. The defendant took the deal and made clear at sentencing that all he did was throw chips. Muth is now being sued for her role in the cover up of the arm breaking. The claim against is defamation for lying in her incident report. The incident report is being uploaded as a pdf with this report.

It would have been difficult to tell that this was in fact Muth in the picture if it were not for those hideous glasses. She is the only deputy that wears frames like that, so even though she is out of uniform those are a dead give away. Had she worn something less noticeable she probably would not have been seen in this photo.

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