A judge ruled Thursday that New Jersey corrections officials can force-feed an inmate who has been on a hunger strike over a housing dispute and claims of civil rights abuses.

NJ.com (http://bit.ly/1TSlvR2) reported that state Superior Court Judge Walter Koprowski Jr. determined that the state's interest in preserving life trumps inmate William Lecuyer's rights to free speech and privacy.

The 37-year-old convict hasn't eaten since July, and prison doctors say his life is in danger. Lecuyer's diet has included only water, coffee and occasional meals of broth or protein drinks.

Lecuyer testified that he's had no choice because the state's process for handling inmate grievances is useless.

The judge said the state can feed Lecuyer intravenously or through a tube inserted through his nose and into his stomach.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.