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Posted on December 15, 2023 in Official misconduct
Since May 2023, seven inmates have died while in custody at a Multnomah County jail. The Sheriff’s office claims this to be the highest spike in inmate deaths in the last 15 years. Two Multnomah County jail deputies, James Brauckmiller and Michael Mersereau, were indicted with first-degree official misconduct in association with the death of two inmates earlier in 2023.
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office did not specify the exact misconduct committed or the deaths they were connected to but released a statement stating that the deputies may have failed to perform their duties as required. This announcement comes after an investigation by Oregon State Police was sparked due to an unusually high number of deaths at Multnomah jails this year.
The incidents that caused the indictment of the two Multnomah County jail deputies may point to a larger issue associated with how Multnomah County jails are run and the lack of repercussions its jail officers face for their misconduct. While no further details are available surrounding this specific incident, it is important to note that inmates have the right to be treated with adequate care and be kept safe.
There are several types of misconduct that jail officers may participate in that can inflict serious or even fatal harm on inmates, including:
When an officer participates in official misconduct it puts inmates in a vulnerable situation that may ultimately lead to death. It is the responsibility of jail officers to ensure the security and safety of inmates, so if they fail to do so, no one is looking out for the well-being of the inmates. An Oregon jail deputy medical misconduct lawyer can help if you or a loved one have been harmed by negligent or intentional acts of authorities.
While it is unknown what form of misconduct the two officers charged in Multnomah County participated in, ultimately it led to the undue death of two inmates, which more than likely could have been prevented.
While incarcerated, inmates have rights as outlined in the US Constitution. The rights of incarcerated inmates include:
Two different types of cases may occur after an inmate dies in prison, criminal and civil. Criminal cases occur when the government files a case to punish someone for committing a crime. A civil case involves a legal dispute between two or more parties usually involving suing someone for money in disputes over things like property damage or someone getting hurt. Damages awarded in these civil cases can include compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and pain and suffering.
If your loved one dies in prison due to official misconduct, you or your family may wish to pursue a civil case for wrongful death on behalf of your loved one. In your wrongful death claim, there may be several parties that you can hold accountable for your loved one’s death, depending on the specifics of your case. Responsible parties may include:
It is important to note that determining responsibility for the wrongful death of an inmate in prison involves a thorough investigation, and available legal actions vary depending on the circumstances specific to your loved one’s death. If you wish to pursue legal action for the death of your loved one while in prison, it is best to consult with an attorney who has experience with wrongful death claims and civil rights laws.
At Paulson Coletti, we offer comprehensive legal services to support our clients. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of officer misconduct and the death of your loved one can be difficult and you may be unsure about what steps to take next, this is where we can help. Our experienced team of attorneys can provide:
If your loved one or someone you know has experienced mistreatment in prison or wrongfully lost their life due to officer misconduct, contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys today to learn more and set up a free, no-obligations consultation. Call us at (503) 226-6361 or contact us online.