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Prisoner Education Guide

Mother of Utah Prisoner Who Starved to Death in County Jail Accepts Settlement

by Christopher Zoukis

The mother and estate of Carlos Umana, a prisoner being held in the Salt Lake County Adult Detention Facility in Utah, agreed to a settlement with state and prison officials after Umana starved himself to death after the prison refused to provide his medication.

     On October 29, 2010, Umana, 19, was incarcerated in the Salt Lake facility. His mother, Tammy Martinez, allegedly informed the staff of Umana's diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and offered his medications to a nurse on staff. The nurse allegedly refused the medications, but noted what they were. Martinez was allegedly told the prescription would be filled in-house. Umana weighed 180 pounds upon his admission.

     While he was incarcerated, Umana started to believe that he was being served poisonous food. His request for pre-packaged food was allegedly denied. By February 27, 2011, Umana was dead, allegedly of starvation and dehydration, weighing 77 pounds. Toxicology testing by the Utah Medical Examiner allegedly showed no drugs or medications in his system.

     On July 21, 2011, Martinez, as Umana's mother, personal representative, and heir, and the estate of Carlos Umana filed a complaint in federal court against Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder and other individuals and companies responsible for the facility's management and operation. The plaintiffs argued that their failure to provide Umana with his medication violated the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and led to his wrongful death.

     The parties reached a settlement and requested that the case be dismissed on December 30.

See: Martinez, et al., v. Winder, et al., United States District Court for the District of Utah, Case No. 2:11-cv-00670-TS (Dec. 30, 2011)

Related legal case

Martinez, et al., v. Winder, et al.


 

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