James Moore, 30, was involved in a lengthy struggle with over a dozen guards at the Kern County Detention Center on August 15, 2005 following his arrest on criminal threat charges. He was placed in a “carotid hold” and severely beaten, including when he was shackled to a gurney. Moore died about a week later due to head injuries.
Five jail guards were charged with participating in the beating or failing to stop it. Three took plea bargains, while two, Daniel Lindini and Ralph Contreras, went to trial in October 2009 and were convicted.
Lindini was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter and assault by a public officer. He had worked at the Kern County jail for 26 years.
Contreras was convicted of second-degree murder and assault by a public officer, and sentenced to 15 years to life. The judge in the case, Louis P. Etcheverry, said neither Lindini nor Contreras had tried to stop the assault on Moore. Attorneys for the former guards claimed their clients had been unfairly singled out.
Previously, in February 2006, jail guard Lisa Romero pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge in connection with Moore’s death; she was sentenced to one day in jail and three years’ probation. Former guard Angel Bravo pleaded guilty to a similar charge two months later and was placed on three years’ probation. A fifth guard, Roxanne Fowler, pleaded guilty in September 2009 to a misdemeanor charge of assault by a public officer; she was sentenced to time served, three years’ probation and a $375 fine.
In April 2009, Moore’s two minor sons obtained a $6 million settlement in their wrongful death suit against Kern County. [See: PLN, Oct. 2009, p.32].
Sources: www.mercurynews.com, www.bakersfield.com, www.bakersfieldnow.com, www.turnto23.com
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