A lawyer for a Connecticut inmate said his client has won a $12,000 verdict by a jury that found his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated after the prison failed to replace a defective mattress. The federal jury in Hartford awarded the damages Friday to Harold Bell, who is serving a 12-year sentence for first-degree assault. His attorney, Antonio Ponvert III, said the verdict is a rare victory for a prisoner. He said it took about seven months for the prison to replace the mattress, which he said smelled of mildew and was missing much of its stuffing. Ponvert said Bell suffered joint pain, headaches, and chronic sleep deprivation.
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