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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE : POLICE BRUTALITY : LAW: CASES : UNITED STATES: STATES: TEXAS : LAW CASE DECISIONS: A Little-Noticed Supreme Court Case Could Deny Justice For Sandra Bland


David P. Dillard
 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: MURDER HOMICIDE :

POLICE BRUTALITY :

LAW: CASES :

UNITED STATES: STATES: TEXAS :

LAW CASE DECISIONS:

A Little-Noticed Supreme Court Case Could Deny Justice For Sandra Bland

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A Little-Noticed Supreme Court Case Could Deny Justice For Sandra Bland

The court in June immunized jail officials who failed to prevent an inmate's suicide.

Cristian Farias

Legal Affairs Reporter

The Huffington Post

Posted: 08/05/2015 07:46 PM EDT

Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ supreme-court-sandra-bland-suicide_55c0ca3ae4b06f8bedb5ebac

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/n9vbluk

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Sandra Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, wants a federal court in Texas to get to the bottom of what happened to her daughter, whose traffic stop and jail cell death have become a fresh rallying cry for #BlackLivesMatters activists.

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This week, Reed-Veal filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Texas and Waller County officials, accusing them of violating Bland's rights from the moment state trooper Brian Encinia stopped her car last month until she was found hanging in her jail cell a few days later.

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Reed-Veal's lawsuit goes to great lengths to avoid the word suicide. The term appears only once in the 46-page document -- an oblique reference to a claim by Waller County Jail officials that Bland told them she had previously attempted to commit suicide. But if pending investigations confirm that Bland killed herself, Bland's mother may amend her lawsuit to allege jail officials failed in their duty to protect her daughter. And if that happens, a little-noticed ruling the Supreme Court issued in June --
with facts as grim as those presented in the Bland case -- may damage Reed-Veal's chances.

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In Taylor v. Barkes, all nine justices shut down a lawsuit by family members of Christopher Barkes, a Delaware man who took his own life within a day of being arrested for violating probation. Jail officials' failure to set up safeguards to keep him from hanging himself, the court ruled, was not a violation of his civil rights.

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Barkes had a history of suicidal ideations and had attempted suicide on several occasions. This and a fuller mental-health picture were contained in Barkes probation file. But the intake nurse at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, Delaware, had no access to it, and Barkes only told her about one of these attempts. There also was evidence that the nurse didnt use the latest version of a standard suicide screening form, and that a qualified mental-health professional should have conducted the screening instead.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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