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Maricopa County, Arizona Settles Prisoner Suicide Claim for $125,000

On March 31, 2010, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to pay $125,000 to settle a claim against the county made by the family of a jail prisoner who killed himself in 2008.

According to the notice of claim, filed by Phoenix attorney Joel Robbins, on January 24, 2008, James Cole committed suicide by slashing his wrists with a razor that he received from jail personnel. The notice stated that Cole was providing evidence against a gang, which may have led him “to the point that he took his own life to prevent others from doing it.” The notice cited issues related to Cole’s classification, his being provided with a razor, and an inadequate response to the potential threat caused by his assisting law enforcement.

“It’s like any other settlement we enter into,” said Maricopa County Risk Manager Peter Crowley. “We estimate the potential exposure, the potential verdict, the chances of losing a trial, the cost of trying it. We reach a decision on the value of the case, and we tried to settle based upon that value.”

Because no lawsuit was filed, there is no court information for this case.

Source: Arizona Republic

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