Mentally Ill Man Collapses In Cell, Dies Later
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2013 – It is a real concern jailing mentally ill prisoners. Anything can happen, resulting in a wrongful death lawsuit.
“This Texas case was a hot button for the local police. An inmate in custody collapsed and died later in hospital. A local civil rights group filed a wrongful death lawsuit, based on the fact that the inmate was obviously mentally ill and being behind bars led to a decline in his physical health and further decline in his mental health. This kind of situation raises concerns about how obviously ill prisoners are being treated while in custody,” added Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
The evidence in this case indicated that the man was incarcerated with clear disregard of recommendations by a judge and several doctors that he be sent to a mental facility. The man had been arrested for purportedly vandalizing a home, causing heavy damage that included holes in the walls and sprayed graffiti inside the house.
“When police arrived on the scene, the man stated he was the homeowner and was just blessing his house,” outlined Schuelke. One thing led to another, and the man was put behind bars, but not without a judge suggesting he needed to be taken to a mental health facility. No one is clear why that did not happen, but the results of not complying with a court order or the suggestion of a doctor turned out in the worst possible way.
Would a case such as this have a chance at success in court? “Tough question to answer,” said Schuelke, “due to the fact he was charged for a criminal act, which meant being held in custody for court. However, most cases like this are dealt with based on the facts of the case, as no two are alike. There would definitely be questions about why the police declined to take the man to a mental health facility. It would also raise questions about the treatment of other mentally ill patients in such a setting, which is primarily why the civil rights group filed a lawsuit on the deceased’s behalf.”
Wrongful death cases are sometimes strange entities, with strange outcomes. However, most often they are not about setting out to exact revenge against someone. They are a vehicle to deliver a message that will hopefully prevent a similar incident happening to someone else. Often, they are also a method of finding closure and financial support, to allow a family to move forward with their lives. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can take a case like this to court and get the kind of justice the plaintiff is seeking.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
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Austin, TX 78701
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