Inmate Johnson James, 61, Died Following Medical Emergency At Jail In Los Angeles County

pexels-ron-lach-10475008LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (February 22, 2024) – A 61-year-old inmate identified as Johnson James has tragically died while staying at a Los Angeles County jail.

Los Angeles County officials are saying that the incident took place on Saturday. Jail staff noticed that Johnson James was in medical distress.

He was taken to the Los Angeles County Medical Center in order to receive care. But efforts to save him were not successful.

Johnson James was later pronounced dead. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Los Angeles County Inmate Deaths

Thousands of inmates die in custody every year. Many of these deaths involve inmates who were never even convicted of the crimes they were being held for. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In both 2018 and 2019, more than 90% of prisoner deaths occurred in state prison facilities. Deaths from all causes decreased in state prisons from 2018 to 2019, with the exception of deaths due to drug or alcohol intoxication and homicides. Deaths in prisons operated by the BOP increased from 378 in 2018 to 381 in 2019.” Jails should take a number of measures in order to prevent inmate deaths.

  • Jails should study why any deaths in their custody took place.
  • Jails should have Narcan, which can be used to treat an overdose.
  • Jails should work closely with healthcare providers.

Inmates do not ever die randomly while they are in custody. The factors that may contribute to any inmate death may take place hours, days or weeks beforehand. If a jail fails to provide an inmate with adequate care, this violates the Eighth Amendment. In particular, when jails are deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Certain steps should be taken after any inmate’s death.

  • Medical records related to the death should be collected.
  • Eyewitnesses should be interviewed.
  • Jail records leading up to the death should be sought.
  • An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.

Jails are often quick to label any in-custody death as “natural.” This is done partly because “natural” deaths do not receive as much scrutiny. However, many inmate deaths listed as natural do involve some amount of medical neglect. This is why it is so important to seek out legal counsel early on after any inmate death. A civil rights attorney can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.


Investigating Los Angeles County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Johnson James. Any person who may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. State officials need to implement greater oversight of Los Angeles County jails to ensure that they are upholding constitutional standards.

Do you need more information about a Los Angeles County inmate’s death? We may be able to assist you. Our team of civil rights attorneys is focused exclusively on helping people harmed by police abuses of power and jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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