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Alameda County, CA Settles Jail Suicide Suit for $800,000

Alameda County, CA Settles Jail Suicide Suit for $800,000

Following a mistrial, California’s Alameda County settled a wrongful death claim resulting from a jail detainee’s suicide for over $800,000. The federal lawsuit was brought by the prisoner’s minor children.

The plaintiffs claimed that as Richard Lebon was being escorted to a jail cell after his arrest on March 10, 2004, he told Deputy Sheriff R.L. Silcocks that he wanted to kill himself. Rather than placing Lebon in a suicide watch cell, Silcocks put him in a regular holding cell at 10:15 a.m. Seven minutes later, Lebon was found hanging by a cord attached to the telephone in the cell.

Lebon died of his injuries at a local hospital. The wrongful death suit went to a jury trial, and after four days of deliberation with no verdict, the Court declared a mistrial. On November 3, 2007, the County settled for $500,000. The settlement also provided for attorney expenses of $84,652, guardian expenses of $417 and attorney fees of $217,465, for a total award of $802,534.

The Court authorized the children’s guardian to buy a house for them to live in, and for the house to be sold or transferred to them after they all turned 18. The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Kimberly Ann Kupferer and Laurance F. Padway. See: Parrish v. Alameda County, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.), Case No. 3:05-cv-03140-BZ.

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Related legal case

Parrish v. Alameda County