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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 ‘Texas’

A Suspect is Allegedly Fatally Shot by Police Officers in Fort Worth, Texas

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Tarrant County Courthouse, Fort Worth, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Wednesday afternoon, February 14, 2018, an alleged armed suspect was allegedly fatally shot by Fort Worth, Texas, police officers during a traffic stop. According to Chris Bitt, Fort Worth Police Sergeant, the deadly shooting occurred in the Presidio Junction Shopping Center on North Tarrant Parkway at about 3 p.m. Prior to the traffic stop, police were called to a business on Fossil Bluff Drive with regard to a domestic dispute. Britt said an ex-boyfriend of one of the employees had a weapon and threatened her with it.

When police arrived on the scene, they were able to identify the suspect, a white adult male, who drove off in a red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Police officers followed him in pursuit. The suspect turned in a shopping center parking lot, got out of his vehicle, and started to walk toward the four police officers who wanted to engage in conversation with him, Britt said. The suspect was commanded by the officers to stop, but the man, who had displayed a handgun, continued to walk toward the officers. Britt said officers opened fire and struck the suspect at a point when they feared for their lives.

The officers began first aid on the suspect, and he was transported by ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital. An 18-year-old witness at a nearby drive-through restaurant said that she saw the alleged fatal police shooting incident unfold. She said it was frightening, especially because it felt that she was the only other person at the scene. She said it appeared the suspect refused to obey police commands. She also said that she saw the suspect walk very fast toward the officers and pull out his handgun.

All of the police officers were wearing body cameras, but it has not been verified whether any video footage captured the alleged shooting incident. The four officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The shooting is under investigation by the Major Case unit at the Fort Worth Police Department. The Texas Rangers will also conduct an investigation, which is also routine procedure after alleged fatal police shootings.

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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In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 3 Jail Staffers are Charged in a Prisoner’s Dehydration Death

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Milwaukee County Jail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On February 12, 2018, three staffers with Milwaukee County Jail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were charged with alleged crimes for their alleged roles in the April 24, 2016, death of 38-year-old prisoner Terrill Thomas. Thomas died in his cell from dehydration, and his death was ruled a homicide. An investigation into his death led to a Milwaukee County jury unanimously recommending that seven jail staffers be charged with crimes in connection with Thomas’ death. Two of the three staffers charged with crimes are accused of felony neglect of a resident of a penal facility, which is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison. The third jail staffer has been charged with obstructing an officer and misconduct/office-act/inconsistent duty, which is punishable for a total of up to 4 years in prison. This individual allegedly failed to preserve surveillance video which showed the water to the cell being cut off and also allegedly lied about what the missing footage showed.

Investigators discovered that the water to Thomas’ cell was intentionally cut off as punishment, after he had flooded his mattress with water. Thomas went a week with no water before dying of dehydration.

Investigators also say they found evidence that two other prisoners at the jail were deprived of water as a punishment. One of those occasions happened a week after the custodial death of Thomas.

Individuals who are incarcerated have civil rights. In Texas, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) monitors county jails and other facilities in which prisoners are detained. Jail staffers can be held accountable for criminal acts against prisoners in Texas, too.

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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Lamb County Jail in Littlefield, Texas is Cited for One Alleged Violation of Minimum Jail Standards

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Littlefield House in Littlefield, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) is the entity that conducts county jail inspections and implements declared state policies that all county jail facilities must conform to in order to meet minimum standards of operation, maintenance, and construction. The operation of jail facilities is under the jurisdiction of TCJS, along with the care, custody, and treatment of prisoners and more. A Jail Inspection Report was released on November 20, 2017, detailing one alleged violation committed by Lamb County Jail in Littlefield, Texas.

The standard allegedly violated was in regard to an emergency back-up electrical generator that is supposed to operate both automatically and manually in the event that the primary electrical power source is interrupted. The system must have the capability of operating for at least 1 ½ hours without the need to refuel. The back-up power source should be provided for life safety systems and other necessary equipment, including but not limited to:

  • Fire detection and alarm systems,
  • Exit lights,
  • Emergency illumination systems,
  • Audible communication systems,
  • Security and control systems,
  • Normal ventilation systems required for smoke detection, and
  • Smoke management systems.

Investigators with TCJS found that there is an interruption of service to both intercoms and door controls when the power load is transferred to the generator and when transferring back to normal power from the generator.

When minimum safety standards are not upheld, prisoners and jail staff can be put at risk. County jails are required to make the needed changes so that minimum jail standards are met. If they fail, they are subject to intervention.

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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250 Prisoners to be Moved from Idaho to Karnes County Correctional Center in Karnes City, Texas

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Karnes City, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The size of the Idaho prison population has grown to the point that they have an ongoing bed shortage in the state’s jails and prisons. Soon, up to 250 male prisoners will be moved from Idaho to the Karnes County Correctional Center in Karnes City, Texas. This is a temporary arrangement, as the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDC) continues the search for a prison-bed provider to establish a long-term agreement with. The Karnes County Correctional Center is owned by GEO Group, which is a private company that contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It has a 550-bed capacity. The facility’s operation will be closely monitored onsite and in person by the Idaho Department of Correction’s Contract Oversight Unit, for the purpose of ensuring that standards for contract-bed providers set by the department are met.

Director of the Idaho Department of Correction, Henry Atencio, said it is not ideal to send prisoners out of state. It creates difficulties for the prisoners’ families and for IDC staff.

There was an occasion in 2009 when Idaho prisoners were at another Geo Group-run private prison facility in Texas, and they had to be moved after an Idaho prisoner committed suicide and a related investigation found that the facility was poorly operated and prisoners lived in squalid conditions.

The Karnes County Correctional Center is accredited by both the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and the American Correctional Association. The facility recently passed inspections by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Texas Department of Health Services. The Idaho prisoners will remain there until a long-term contract for the housing of 1,000 prisoners at an out-of-state facility is executed by the IDC and the beds at that facility become available. The department is attempting to make a contract for up to 1,000 beds for up to six years. The contract is expected to be finalized by March 17, 2018.

All of the prisoners selected for incarceration in Texas are classified as medium custody. They were held, until recently, at four different facilities: Idaho State Correctional Center, South Idaho Correctional Institution, Idaho Maximum Security Institution, and Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Part of the reason there is room for temporary housing of Idaho prisoners at the Karnes City facility could be that arrests for illegal U.S. border crossings are currently at a 46-year low.

The date and time of the transfer of prisoners from Idaho to Texas will not be publically announced. All prisoners will have the opportunity to call their families immediately upon arrival at the Karnes County Correctional Center.

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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Requirements for Investigations into Texas Jail Prisoner Deaths are Changed as of January 1, 2018

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Nueces County Sheriff’s Department in Corpus Christi, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) sent a memorandum to all sheriffs and jail administrators in Texas regarding investigation requirements for custodial deaths, as required by SB 1849. As of January 1, 2018, the investigations into custodial deaths will no longer be conducted by the local law enforcement agency that operates the county jail or facility under the purview of the TCJS.

Under the new rule, local law enforcement agencies are not prohibited from assisting in investigations into custodial deaths. The local agencies are, however, expected to establish a protocol with the investigating branch to prevent any duplication of services or contamination of a scene.

Local law enforcement agencies who contact the Texas Rangers for all custodial death investigations must also provide official notification of the arrangement to the TCJS.

The notice to all local law enforcement agencies who have historically conducted their own Custodial Death Investigation follows:

Effective January 1, 2018, all custodial deaths shall be investigated by another law enforcement agency or entity, as long as no conflicts of interest exist. The other law enforcement agencies could be the Texas Rangers, the District Attorney’s Office, the local police department, or the Medical Examiner’s Office. A primary and secondary investigating agency or entity shall be submitted to the Commission for approval.

Local law enforcement agencies were required to establish procedures for notification in the event of a Custodial Death and implement them by January 1, 2018.

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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TCJS Updates Directives Related to Mental Health Referrals for Prisoners

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) sent a January 23, 2018, memorandum to all sheriffs and jail administrators in Texas to clarify proper mental health referral procedures for prisoners. There has been some confusion created by SB 1326 and SB 1849, both of which are amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure 16.22.

Both SB 1326 and SB 1849 require that a magistrate be notified by the jailer or sheriff within 12 hours when there is credible information indicating that a defendant has a mental illness or an intellectual disability. SB 1849 makes no specification of a misdemeanor class of the individual. SB 1326, however, requires that the magistrate only be notified if the defendant has an alleged Class B misdemeanor or higher. In addition, TCJS concluded that jail staff is not required to notify a magistrate of such individuals who were arrested for Class C misdemeanor offenses. Furthermore, the Commission will not find a jail to be in non-compliance for failing to refer Class C alleged offenders.

The Office of Court Administration was consulted, to address the confusion caused by the conflicting legislation. It was determined that the best practice is to refer every such individual, regardless of the level of crime alleged. This will simplify the booking process. It also reduces the likelihood of failing to make appropriate referrals, since jailers do not have to be concerned about the misdemeanor class the prisoner has been charged with. This will help to ensure that a magistrate is notified of arrestees suspected of intellectual disability or mental illness.

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 23-year-old Dies After One Day in Jim Wells County Jail in Alice, Texas

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Jim Wells County Courthouse, Alice, Texas. (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, Marcus Soza, age 23, was booked into Jim Wells County Jail in Alice, Texas. Late the next day, he was discovered unresponsive in his holding cell. He was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

According to jail staff, Soza was alone in his cell at the time he was discovered in an unresponsive state. Jail officials said that he had been checked on every 35 minutes up to that time.

The Texas Rangers will conduct an investigation into this custodial death. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) will conduct a special inspection at the jail. Documents and video footage will be examined, to determine whether minimum jail standards were being met at the time Soza was found unresponsive.

An example of a special Jail Inspection Report is one that followed a custodial death in San Patricio County Jail in Sinton, Texas. It was determined during the review of a death in custody that the magistrate was not notified, as required by directives on the Screening Form for Suicide and Medical/Mental/Developmental Impairments. The failure to notify a magistrate was verified by the jail administration. The previous year, in a March 2, 2016, Annual Inspection Report, the staff was found to be inconsistent in following through with the requirement of notifying the magistrate.

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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Video and Audio Footage of the Alleged Police-Involved Fatal Shooting of Dewboy Lister is Released on Social Media

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Nueces County Sheriff’s Department in Corpus Christi, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On October 19, 2017, there was an alleged officer-involved shooting in Corpus Christi, Texas, in Hillcrest Neighborhood. A police officer with the Corpus Christi Police Department allegedly fired a single shot, after being in pursuit of 55-year-old Dewboy Lister and subsequently wrestling the refinery worker to the ground. Body camera footage was released on February 2, 2018, which captured footage of the traffic stop and pursuit that just preceded the alleged officer-involved shooting that resulted in Lister’s death.

The video footage shows that an officer pulled Lister over at the intersection of Port Avenue and Winnebago Street. The officer allegedly observed that Lister was taking up two lanes with his vehicle and had a burned out license plate light. The body camera footage shows that Lister said he did not want to answer any further questions. The officer starting patting Lister down, repeating the reason he was pulled over.

Next, a struggle between Lister and the Corpus Christi officer ensued. The officer allegedly used an electronic weapon, which didn’t seem to have an effect. Lister returned to his vehicle and drove off. The officer followed in pursuit in his vehicle.

On Minton Street, Lister began running on foot, and the officer followed on foot, in pursuit. There was allegedly another struggle between the two. During the struggle, the radio and body camera on the officer became dislodged. However, audio continued. The officer warned Lister that he would be shot if he did not comply. Lister is heard shouting to gain the attention of other officers. On the audio, a single gunshot is heard. At that point, the officer who was struggling with Lister called the other officers over.

Another officer at the scene reported that he observed the officer involved in the alleged fatal police shooting. The officer’s hair and uniform were said to be in a state of disarray and his body camera, flashlight, and mobile radio were all on the ground.

Officers immediately provided medical assistance to Lister, and he was quickly transported to Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline. Within a few hours, on October 20, Lister died.

The October 19 incident was investigated by the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office, and the grand jury declined to indict the officer allegedly involved in the shooting.

Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Markle made a short statement in the video before the footage is shown. Among other things, he said the Texas Attorney General’s Office allowed the video footage to be released this week.

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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County Jails in Texas are Required to Provide Needed Medical Services to Prisoners

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

A prisoner in El Paso died of health problems in El Paso County Jail, Texas

El Paso, Texas, courthouse (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) compiled a report indicating that in 2016, 45% of all prisoner complaints were related to medical services. Prisoners have a right to needed medical care, and county jail in Texas have a duty to provide that care. When jail facilities fail to respond to urgent medical needs, prisoners sometimes die. To avoid health-related custodial deaths, county jails must follow such requirements as those laid out in the Texas Administrative Code in the Health Services chapters under TCJS. When a prisoner is denied medical care and dies, investigations are conducted. Jail documentation, including surveillance video, is examined to determine whether jail staff members acted in a manner consistent with minimum jail standards.

For example, TCJS conducted a special inspection after 58-year-old Robert Gallegos died from health problems while incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail in El Paso, Texas. The commission found evidence that supervision and health-service requirements were allegedly not being met at the time of the prisoner’s death. After the full investigation into the health-related custodial death, two detention officers were arrested and charged with tampering with government documents. The officers allegedly documented prisoner checks on Gallegos that they did not make.

Written records showed that routine 30-minute checks on Gallegos were made. Video records provided evidence that they were not. Other documentation showed that he was not given medication as prescribed by a doctor. Gallegos was discovered in his cell cold, pale, unresponsive, and without a pulse at around 5 a.m. on September 16, 2017. Efforts to revive him failed.

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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During a Rescue Attempt, a Kidnap Victim is Allegedly Killed by an FBI Agent in Houston, Texas

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Houston police (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, a tragic homicide occurred in Houston, Texas, as a kidnap victim was shot and killed by a SWAT team member with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Ulises Valladares was reported as being kidnapped from his home in Conroe, Texas. Acting on information obtained during an investigation, the FBI attempted to enter the location where Valladares was being held. A tool was used to break a rear window, but the FBI agent dropped the tool inside. A second agent decided to gain entry using his rifle. The Houston Police Department was also at the location, and HPD reported that Valladares grabbed the rifle and started tugging on it. The FBI agent reported that he was afraid he was losing control of the rifle, and he allegedly made the decision to fire the weapon. Valladares was struck by one of the shots, and a second shot hit the roof. When law enforcement officers entered the home, they discovered that Valladares was bound and had been shot. They immediately called for emergency medical assistance. Valladares was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

According to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, the FBI agents identified themselves repeatedly, yelling “FBI” while trying to enter the home. The room where Valladares was being held was dark, since a decision had been made by the FBI not to utilize lighting during the rescue attempt.

Three individuals are currently facing charges related to the kidnapping. One of the individuals is related to Valladares by marriage and allegedly threatened other members of his family, in addition to allegedly kidnapping him for a ransom of $20,000.

The alleged shooting by a law enforcement officer is under investigation.

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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