A man — who allegedly hid loaded guns and tools during the construction of the new Davidson County Detention Center — now received reprieve from a federal court judge who ordered him out of solitary confinement.
U.S. District Court Middle District of Tennessee judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr. ordered that Alex Friedmann should leave solitary confinement and authorities should house him in conditions that comply with the constitutional standard for pretrial detainees
This comes as he sued the Tennessee Department of Corrections, claiming he's been isolated for more than a year and half in extremely restrictive, punitive and harsh conditions usually reserved only for death row inmates.
Before the order, Friedmann sat in the supermax unit of Riverbend state prison awaiting trial.
According to Friedmann in his lawsuit, he is suffering psychological symptoms due to his confinement in the iron man cell. He said his symptoms include depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, memory loss and loss of concentration. He said the solitary confinement led to his loss in eye sight and back pain.
In January 2020, authorities charged Friedmann with attempted burglary, evidence tampering and possession of burglary tools. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office said he broke into the new downtown detention center while it was being constructed. The sheriff's office said in December 2019 its employees noticed a set of keys with a ring that looked different from the others, then later confirmed two facility keys were missing.
Friedmann allegedly dressed as a construction worker and was seen entering the control room. Police said he then entered the room and placed a key ring in his pocket, left the DDC through the front lobby, returned two hours later, and replaced the keys, again with two missing. When officers arrested Friedman, they found an igloo cooler he was carrying into the facility contained bolt cutters and a document identified as schematics of the detention center.
For more than a decade, Friedmann worked to become a leader in advocating for criminal justice issues in Tennessee. He took up the cause after he was sentenced to ten years in prison on an assault charge. Since his 1999 release, he's written legal journals and pushed prison reform policy, including testifying on Capitol Hill and at the Tennessee State Capitol and even speaking with NewsChannel 5 about prison safety concerns.
Nick Beres contributed to this report.