Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, a foreign national of Mexico, filed a lawsuit in Arizona last week against Maricopa County Sheriff, Joseph M. Arpaio alleging that she was mistreated while she was pregnant as an inmate in the Sheriff’s jail. She was six months pregnant when she was arrested in 2009 on charges of identity theft. The suit states that her Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the MCSO’s infliction of cruel and unusual punishment, deliberate indifference to her serious medical needs, and disparate treatment. The lawsuit alleges that MCSO and Maricopa Medical Center’s unconstitutional policies, practices, acts and omissions, Ms. Mendiola-Martinez suffered immediate and irreparable injury, including physical, psychological and emotional injury and risk of death.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Mendiola-Martinez was undernourished at the jail due to what jail staff called a “special” pregnancy diet. These pregnancy meals consisted of items such as two slices of bread, two slices of cheese or ham, undistinguishable cooked vegetables, and an occasional piece of fruit. She was also given two small cartons of milk per day. This hardly seems to be enough food for a pregnant woman eating for two.