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Attorneys Representing Dog Attack Victims Across Texas

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Posts Tagged ‘custodial death’

A Prisoner at Cherokee County Jail in Rusk, Texas, Dies of Unknown Causes

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Cherokee County Courthouse (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Sunday night, December 10, 2017, a prisoner at the Cherokee County Jail in Rusk, Texas, died. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement. According to Sheriff James Campbell, the prisoner was transported to a hospital in Jacksonville, where the official pronouncement of the death was made. It appears to be a fatality resulting from natural causes. However, an autopsy will be performed and an official cause of death will be determined; this process could take several weeks, Campbell said. The death is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, which is standard procedure when a custodial death occurs. The prisoner’s name was not announced because family members had not yet been notified.

Another standard procedure when a custodial death occurs is that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) must be notified. TCJS will also conduct an investigation. Documentation and videos will be reviewed, to determine whether mandatory procedures were being followed at the time the incident took place.

An inspection of Cherokee County Jail was conducted on September 27, 2016. As a result, the jail was cited for allegedly failing to complete an intake screening form which involved notification of medical personnel and a magistrate. Intake screenings are considered to be important because they help to determine whether a person may be mentally ill or at risk for committing suicide. Those who give some sort of indication that they may be at risk are observed face-to-face by a jailer every 30 minutes, whereas the general population is observed every hour at most.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Custodial Death of Kelli Page in Coryell County Jail is Ruled a Homocide

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

English: The Courthouse Gatesville, Texas, Uni...

English: The Courthouse Gatesville, Texas, United States. The courthouse and surrounding historical district were added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 18, 1977. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On October 8, 2017, 46-year-old Kelli Leanne Page died following an altercation with jailers in Coryell County Jail in Gatesville, Texas. On December 6, 2017, news was announced that Ms. Page’s custodial death has been ruled a homicide. According to Coryell County Justice of the Peace Coy Latham, who pronounced Ms. Page dead, no criminal charges have been filed. Texas law states that even if a death is ruled a homicide that happened because of another person’s actions, criminal activity is not necessarily involved. Latham will set a court date for a formal death inquest before Christmas. The inquest will be held in open court, Latham said. In the meantime, investigating entities are allowed to withhold information regarding the custodial death pending an inquest.

On the day of the fatal incident, Ms. Page had begun banging on her cell with a hairbrush and screaming. Officers opened her cell and found that she was combative. They used various means in an attempt to restrain her. Ultimately, they handcuffed her with her hands behind her back. Allegedly, during the altercation, a jailer struck her on her face. She was also struck with a fist. After the handcuffs were on, Ms. Page was turned onto her left side; and detention officers noticed that she wasn’t breathing or moving. She was given CPR and transported to a nearby hospital by Coryell County emergency medical services. A short time later, however, she was pronounced dead.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Family of a Former New Orleans, Louisiana, Prisoner who Died of an Overdose Sues the Jail and Others

Friday, December 1st, 2017

English: Baton Rouge River Center

English: Baton Rouge River Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty-three-year-old Colby Crawford was a prisoner in a New Orleans jail when he died of an overdose of cocaine in February of 2017. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the jail, the jail’s health care contractor, and others. Crawford had mental problems and had previously been in a special psychiatric unit before being transferred to jail, and the family had hoped Crawford would be safe there. He was in jail for allegedly punching his mother and hitting his sister with a wooden spoon. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity.

Crawford had been in a psychiatric hospital, experiencing hallucinations such as seeing ghosts, just prior to being booked into the Orleans Justice Center (OJC) in 2016. Rather than being placed in the special psychiatric unit in Baton Rouge, Crawford was prescribed medication and weeks later sent to the psych unit. After being in Baton Rouge for two months, he was allegedly returned to OJC as a punishment for minor rules infractions.

Eventually, Crawford was released into general population at OJC, where records show he failed to consistently take medications prescribed to him. In the understaffed unit where he stayed, however, prisoners accessed drugs. On February 22, the day Crawford collapsed and died of an overdose, he had allegedly snorted lines of coke in clear view of surveillance cameras throughout the day. At approximately 8 p.m., he suddenly died.

The family is making a number of claims in Crawford’s death, including that there was a failure to provide adequate mental health care, a failure to supervise the prisoners, and a failure to keep contraband from entering the jail.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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A 43-year-old Prisoner’s Autopsy Reveals the Cause of Death, in Toledo, Ohio

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Lucas County Courthouse, Toledo, Ohio (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Thanksgiving Day 2017, 43-year-old Lisa McCray was visiting her mother in Ohio and went with her mom and a friend to a casino. While there, McCray was arrested, along with her friend, for alleged disorderly conduct intoxication and booked into in Toledo’s Lucas County Jail. According to Internal Affairs Captain Richard Grove, McCray was moved into a holding cell after being booked and went through required screening. She reportedly showed no red flags for being possibly suicidal. He said the reason she was placed in the holding cell was because she was being disruptive. There is a working phone in the holding cell, and Grove said McCray used the phone cord to attempt suicide. This reportedly occurred within about 90 seconds of speaking with a corrections officer. At 4 a.m. on Friday, November 24, she was discovered unresponsive. McCray was transported to Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center, where she died within a 24-hour period.

The incident is being investigated. In the meantime, the autopsy has been completed. According to the coroner’s office, McCray’s death was self-inflicted with a phone cord. A suicide ruling or any other means of death weren’t specified because the investigation and toxicology results are pending.

In Texas, as in jails across the nation, there are procedures designed to prevent custodial deaths, including jail suicides. Prisoners are placed on stricter watch when there are indications that they may try to harm themselves.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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A Former Nurse in the Texarkana, Texas Jail Pleads Guilty to a Prisoner’s Death

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Water Tower in Texarkana, Texas.

Water Tower in Texarkana, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, November 27, 2017, a former nurse at a jail in Texarkana, Texas, pled guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide in the custodial death of 20-year-old Morgan Angerbauer, who was a prisoner at the Texarkana jail. According to court records, Angerbauer asked the nurse to check her blood sugar, but the nurse allegedly refused. She allegedly said that members of the jail staff were the ones to decide when medical attention was needed. Early the following morning, Angerbauer was discovered unconscious in her cell.

A police affidavit says the nurse said that she was fully aware that Angerbauer’s diabetic situation was severe. Still, she refused to provide treatment and told her that wasn’t how things work. She allegedly said that Angerbauer missed her medical call and would have to wait for the next one.

According to one jail staff member, after Angerbauer was discovered unconscious, the nurse was told to immediately call for emergency services but refused to for more than 30 minutes. When paramedics finally arrived, Angerbauer was dead. The prisoner’s mother claims that she had been lying on the floor of the cell in her own vomit without a blanket and was refused treatment, resulting in her death.

An autopsy was done, and it showed that diabetic ketoacidosis was the cause of death. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that occurs when blood sugar reaches severely high levels.

The nurse had said that she was willing to plead no contest to negligent homicide. The judge in the case refused to accept any plea other than guilty.

It is expected that the former nurse will serve approximately three months in jail. According to Texas Nursing Board records, the woman’s nursing license has been suspended.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Custodial Death of Juan Cordova-Sanchez in the Texarkana Jail is Under Investigation

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Twenty-six-year-old Juan Cordova-Sanchez of Nash, Texas, lost consciousness within minutes of being booked into Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana, Texas. Cordova-Sanchez was arrested at 1:56 a.m. on Saturday, November 18, 2017. By 2:40 a.m., jailers contacted the Texarkana Police Department to advise them that he was in cardiac arrest and losing consciousness. Cordova-Sanchez was transported to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana, where he later died. Autopsy results are pending. The Texas Rangers are investigating the custodial death. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) will also look into the tragic death by examining jail records and conducting a jail inspection, to determine whether minimum standards were being followed at the time Cordova-Sanchez died.

A possibly related detail preceding the arrest of Cordova-Sanchez is that he had contacted 9-1-1 in the midst of events surrounding the entire police encounter. He said on the emergency call that he may be injured. Nothing further has been reported in this regard.

Jailers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for prisoners and staff members. Routine inspections are made at Texas jails, and counties are held accountable, if there is evidence that minimum standards are not being met. For instance, in late October a jail inspection report was released about Edwards County Jail in Rocksprings, Texas. Eight items were listed that allege failures to meet minimum jail standards. One details a standard regarding screening of prisoners as they are admitted. It is alleged that a prisoner indicated that he had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and records show that medical personnel were not notified. A supervisor was not informed, either, according to records.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Summit County, Colorado, Agrees to a $3.5 Million Settlement in Death of Prisoner Zachary Moffitt

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Summit County Sheriff’s Office police cruiser (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

In Summit County Jail in Breckenridge, Colorado, 33-year-old Zachary Moffitt, a prisoner, allegedly died in jail after suffering alcohol withdrawal in July 2013. On Thursday, November 16, 2017, Summit County agreed to pay Moffitt’s family $3.5 in an alleged wrongful death lawsuit. The settlement will need to be approved in probate court, since Moffitt’s two children are the ones who will receive the payout.

Records show that before being taken to jail, he had been admitted to a hospital for alcohol poisoning. The hospital contacted the police after Moffitt walked out of the hospital while allegedly still with a high blood alcohol content. Summit County police officers arrested him. The family claims that Moffitt had been exhibiting symptoms of alcohol withdrawal for three days while in jail, and the jail failed to provide medical attention. Authorities say he suffered cardiac arrest and was on life support for four days before he died.

Summit County Sheriff John Minor had asked that a formal review be done of the custodial death by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It was determined by CBI that detention deputies did not take wrongful actions that could have led to Moffitt’s death. No charges were filed in connection with his death.

In Texas, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards investigates whenever there is a custodial death, and they make determinations as to whether or not minimum jail standards were met. A basic right of prisoners is to receive needed medical attention.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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A 60-year-old Prisoner at a Sulphur Springs, Texas, is Found Unresponsive and Later Dies

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Hopkins County Courthouse, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

In Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs, Texas, 60-year-old Melvin Williams was discovered unresponsive in his cell on Tuesday morning, November 14, 2017. A jailer was delivering breakfast when Williams was found. He was breathing but unresponsive. Williams was taken to CHRISTUS Mother Francis in Sulphur Springs and then transferred to a Tyler hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sheriff Lewis Tatum of the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department said the cause of death is unknown. He also doesn’t yet know why Williams was transferred to Tyler. As is the case whenever there is a custodial death, Texas Rangers are investigating the death. In addition, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) examines records and conducts inspections to determine whether minimum jail standards were being met at the time a custodial death occurred.

The role of TCJS is listed in the Texas Administrative Code. The organization prepares Jail Inspection Reports that reflect areas in which jails allegedly fail to meet minimum jail standards. The following is an example of the types of standards jails must meet.

  • At each facility, there must be an appropriate number of jailers 24 hours per day. Jailers must have face-to-face observations of prisoners every 60 minutes at most. In areas where prisoners have exhibited bizarre behavior or are known to be mentally ill, potentially suicidal, or assaultive, observations are required every 30 minutes or less.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

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The Custodial Death of Amie Coon at Tyler County Jail, Texas, is Being Investigated

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Smith County Jail in Tyler, Texas (Photo: Licensed for reuse)

Forty-one-year-old Amie Coon of Ivanhoe, Texas died late Sunday night, November 12, 2017, while a prisoner in the Tyler County Jail in Woodville, Texas. According to a press release from the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, she was discovered nonresponsive in her cell late Sunday night. Jail staff, deputies, and police officers with the Woodville Police Department performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until an ambulance arrived. She was never revived, however. Trisher Ford, Justice of the Peace, pronounced Coon dead at the jail and ordered an autopsy. The custodial death is being investigated by the Texas Rangers and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS).

Late on Tuesday, November 14, Sheriff Bryan Weatherford made a statement and said the cause and manner of death should be able to be determined after an autopsy has been done. The autopsy is scheduled to take place in Beaumont at the end of this week.

There are minimum jail standards in Texas which are designed to help ensure that prisoners are safe and custodial deaths are avoided whenever possible. The TCJS is responsible for inspecting jails, doing investigations following jail deaths, and citing jails for alleged violations of minimum jail standards. Any time a custodial death occurs, jail records are examined to determine whether prisoners were checked at the intervals required. If a person has been deemed to be a suicide risk, for instance, more frequent cell checks are required.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Two Jailers in El Paso County, Texas, were Arrested in Connection with the Custodial Death of Roberto Gallegos

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

English: Downtown El Paso, Texas, taken in Apr...

English: Downtown El Paso, Texas, taken in April 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two jailers from the El Paso County Jail in El Paso, Texas, have been arrested in connection with the custodial death of prisoner Roberto Gallegos. The 58-year-old man died while in isolation on September 16, 2017. Gallegos had health problems and was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes. As is standard following a custodial death, a special inspection was done of the jail by Texas Rangers and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. It was discovered that the jail allegedly failed to meet health service and supervision requirements. The reason the two detention officers were arrested, according to Sheriff Richard Wiles, was that they allegedly altered jail records to reflect documented checks that they didn’t make. Both jailers are now free on bond and face pre-termination hearings.

The primary purpose of jail standards is to ensure the safety of prisoners and the jail staff. It is routine for jailers to make rounds in specific, required intervals for the purpose of checking on the welfare of prisoners. When individuals are considered to be at risk for some reason, they are checked on more frequently than other prisoners. The people in custody also have a right to receive needed medical attention.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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