In my over 25 years of practicing law, my firm has represented defendants charged with serious felonies in California. In many of those cases, bail is set at such a high number that Defendant’s will need to wait in jail until there case is resolved by either dismissal, trial or a plea bargain. Whether you serve jail time pending the resolution of a criminal case in Lancaster, Palmdale, Ontario, Los Angeles, West Covina, Huntington Beach or any other city in California, you may unfortunately face circumstances where you are relying on your jailer often time a local sheriff’s department to make sure you are protected until the outcome of your case. Fighting California criminal charges is hard enough but when you face safety issues in a county jail it makes it even harder to fight a serious felony case which can take time so that an experience criminal lawyer can get the best possible result. If you are injured in jail while fighting a California criminal case, you should be aware of your rights and seek the proper representation to fight criminal charges and make sure you get justice from an unnecessary injury incurred while in custody.
- Jail injury: excessive force and failure-to-protect
There are very few things in life more distressful than to be arrested and taken into custody. It is not rare to know someone who has had the misfortune of being the subject of an arrest. The thought of sudden separation from friends, family and loved ones and placed in a jail cell is horrifying for most. As an attorney practicing for almost 30 years I have heard from individuals who not only have suffered the indignity and nightmare of an arrest but have been the subject of physical and mental abuse while in jail. Although the police may have the right to make an arrest and take someone to jail, they also have an obligation to make sure that individual remains safe and is not placed in a dangerous setting. Often an individual arrested and jailed for what is otherwise a minor offense, is placed in a jail cell or setting with others who are violent and dangerous.
Such was the situation is a recent court case in California. In Castro v. City of Los Angeles, the Untied States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently expanded the rights of those injured in jail. Mr. Castro had been arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. Deputies of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department placed him in a “sobering cell”. Unfortunately, they also placed in the same cell as Mr. Gonzalez, an individual who was “acting bizarre”. Mr. Gonzalez was later seen stomping on Mr. Castro’s head and beating him violently. Calls for help by Mr. Castro went ignored. Mr. Castro was hospitalized for a month and was in a coma. He has suffered terrible long term problems from the attack.
Lawyers for Mr. Castro sued the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department. Inmates who sue prison officials for injuries suffered while in custody may do so under the Eight Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause or, if not convicted yet, under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.