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Rey Manuel Zavala Died of Medical Emergency at Ventura County jail


Sep 26, 2018

Prison Inmate Rey Manuel Zavala Died After Medical emergency In Prison Cell at Ventura County jail

 VENTURA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (September 25, 2018) A 25-year-old prison inmate at the Ventura County Jail identified as Rey Manuel Zavala died after he had some type of medical emergency in his cell.

Emergency medical responders rushed to the aid of the victim, but they were not able to save him. A medical examiner indicated that the inmate died as a result of a brain aneurysm. It remains unclear if the victim had been previously diagnosed with an aneurysm.

Authorities are saying that Rey Manuel Zavala was the second person to die while in custody in less than 1 week.

The other inmate died as a result of a serious assault at the prison. The death of Rey Manuel Zavala marks the third death at the Ventura County jail so far this year.

An investigation into the prison death accident remains ongoing at this time.

Inmate Death Statistics

According to a report from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2013 is the third year in a row where inmate deaths have increased. The frequency of deaths and the cause of death varies depending on whether or not the inmates are in a state or federal prison. For example, suicides are one of the leading causes of death at local county jails. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death at federal prisons. There are a number of factors that lead to inmate deaths. For starters, a number of prisons outsource the medical care that prisoners get to private companies.

Some of these private companies do great work. But a number of them don’t. Steps aren’t taken to prevent inmate suicide. Prisoners are neglected or worse mistreated.  This absolutely should never happen. Inmates have protections afforded them under the constitution. When an inmate dies due to the neglect of prison staff the victim’s family may be able to file a claim for damages.  

Liability In Inmate Deaths

Inmates have a right to receive “reasonably adequate” healthcare under the federal constitution. There have been a number of federal court cases over the years to establish this. In Estelle v. Gamble, the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) outlined what it means  for a prisoner to get adequate care. Moreover, when a prison fails to provide an inmate with reasonable care that may be sufficient to demonstrate that the prison staff were “deliberately indifferent” – thereby opening the prison to civil liability. The court held that, “[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the `unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,’ proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. This is true whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner’s needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once prescribed.”

SCOTUS has outlined the two conditions that need to be met for prison staff to be considered deliberately indifferent:

  1. Serious Medical Condition An inmate needs to have a serious medical condition which has been diagnosed by a qualified doctor or which is so obvious that any reasonable person could recognize it.

  2. Disregarding Excessive Risk Prisoner staff must then disregard excessive risk to a prisoner posed by their condition. Put another way, the prisons staff mush show a conscious disregard for the inmates serious medical needs.

For example, if an inmate was suicidal and the prison staff left the inmate alone with rope to hang himself that could constitute deliberate indifference. The family of the victim of prison neglect may be able to file a personal injury claim in order to be compensated. An experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can examine the facts of your case and let you know what your rights are.

Getting Help After An Inmate Death

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our condolences to the family of Rey Manuel Zavala. What happened at the Ventura County Jail is absolutely tragic. This is the third death so far this year. It looks like a pattern is starting to emerge. There needs to be a thorough investigation into the conduct of the jail staff that are supposed to be looking after inmates. What this jail needs is accountability.

If you or someone that you love has died at the Ventura County Jail you may have legal recourse. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys can take steps to preserve your rights and help you. We are committed to getting our clients justice and we exclusively practice personal injury law. Whether you just have questions about your rights or are seeking legal counsel after an incident we are here to help. You can contact us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

 Sources:

  1. Gretchen Wenner. 25-year-old inmate dies after medical emergency at Ventura County jail, officials say. September 17, 2018

  2. Ephrat Livni, Esq. Inmate Wrongful Deaths: Suing for Neglect or Abuse in Jail or Prison.September 15, 2018

  3. CRIME SIDER STAFF. Report: Inmate deaths on the rise.  August 4, 2015

  4. Dan Manville. Federal Legal Standards for Prison Medical Care. May 15, 2003

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