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TUCSON, arizona - State agrees to $1 million settlement in suit againstCPS
State agrees to $1 million settlement in suit against CPS
Jun. 21, 2008 11:39 AM
TUCSON - The state has agreed to pay a $1 million settlement in a
lawsuit filed by a woman whose two children died.
Jamie Hallam had sued the state's Child Protective Services and the
Tucson Police Department, contending that even though Hallam had been
given sole custody of 4-year-old Ariana Payne and 5-year-old Tyler
Payne, CPS allowed their father, Christopher Payne, to keep them.
Payne and his girlfriend, Reina Gonzales, are accused of killing the
children and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The remains of the 4-year-old were found in a plastic storage tub in
February 2007 after the manager of a self-storage business called police
to report a foul odor. The 5-year-old's remains never have been found,
but police believe he is dead.
The lawsuit alleged CPS officials never investigated Payne or Gonzales
or checked on the children's well-being.
CPS had investigated Hallam on an allegation of neglect, which was later
found to be unsubstantiated.
Although the state settled the case with Hallam, the portion of the
lawsuit pertaining to the Tucson Police Department hasn't concluded.
Hallam's attorney, Jorge Franco Jr., said the state admitted no
wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, but noted the lawsuit was
settled faster than usual.
"It's a significant settlement, and no one pays that amount of money
unless they fear a jury will find them at fault," Franco said.
Franco said his client was thinking about using a portion of the funds
to continue her education.
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