Court Rules Jail Employees Not Responsible for Inmate Death

A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court’s ruling and ruled that employees at the Benton County jail in Bentonville, Arkansas, are immune from a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died of a drug overdose while in custody, Ron Wood reports for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The man, Amos Reece of Oklahoma, died in 2018 while in custody of an overdose from methamphetamine. His mother claimed in the family’s lawsuit that jail employees were indifferent to Reece’s serious medical needs. The appeals court ruled that the employees were entitled to qualified immunity as their conduct did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights. The court also stated that jail employees can’t be faulted for relying on the opinions of medical staff when it comes to inmate diagnosis and treatment.

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