The state asked a federal judge Wednesday to shield Department of Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon and former Secretary Julie Jones from testifying in a long-running lawsuit about the use of solitary confinement in the prison system.
Attorneys for the Department of Corrections filed a motion for a protective order to prevent depositions of Dixon, Jones and Thomas Reimers, the department’s health services director.
The lawsuit, filed in 2019, contends that the department has overused solitary confinement, including for inmates diagnosed with mental illnesses.
In the motion Wednesday, the department’s attorneys argued that Dixon, Jones and Reimers should not be forced to testify in depositions “unless and until plaintiffs have exhausted other discovery and can demonstrate that the agency heads are uniquely able to provide relevant information that cannot be obtained from other sources.”
Jones served as secretary from 2015 to 2019 and is now a deputy state chief financial officer.
“Plaintiffs have not and cannot demonstrate that these high ranking officials possess unique knowledge that cannot be gathered (or has not already been gathered) from less burdensome sources,” the motion said.