Judge awards prisoner $1,251 after guard stops him hugging wife

Kevin King was given the pay-out after a jury ruled his constitutional rights had been violated by him not being able to hug his wife

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A convicted killer has been awarded $1,251 in compensation by a judge after a prison guard stopped him from hugging his wife.

Kevin King, 52, was handed the payout by a jury last week, which decided that his rights had been violated.

King is serving a life sentence in a Michigan prison for a 1982 murder committed during an armed robbery

He was given $1250 in punitive damages and $1 for a violation of his First Amendment rights – which guarantees Americans the right to expression.

The judge ruled that prison officer Tiffaney Williams had retaliated against King over his previous complaints about not being allowed to touch his wife. 

In 2012, the couple were reportedly made to sit a few feet apart and were not allowed to embrace.

Judge Matthew Leitman said this had undervalued human contact and the fact that the couple’s “sole form of intimacy” was touching each other.

The Michigan department of corrections had argued that the guard’s actions were minimal and did not go against the couple’s constitutional rights.

Assistant Attorney General John Thurber said: “It trivialises the First Amendment to allow such a minor occurrence to constitute an adverse actions,” reports Sky News.

Additional reporting Reuters