Inmate Paul Heimark (Full Name: Paul Arthur Heimark) Died In Custody of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA (July 13, 2023) – A 66-year-old man identified as Paul Heimark has died of pneumonia complications after arrest by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

San Diego county officials are saying that the inmate was first sentenced to jail on June 16. Paul Heimark was booked into jail and was then transferred to a hospital.

He was at the hospital for 10 days and his condition worsened. Sadly, Paul Heimark died around 9:30 p.m. on Monday. According to an autopsy report, he died due to complications from a pneumonia.

A full investigation into the in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For San Diego County Inmate Deaths

San Diego county has one of the worst inmate mortality track records. According to KPBS, “San Diego County’s jails have the highest unexpected death rate out of 12 major county jail systems in California. The rate tracks deaths among people who were not believed to be in danger of dying when they were taken into custody.” There are a number of common causes of in-custody death.

  • Inmate-on-inmate attacks
  • Opioid overdoses
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Suicide
  • Inadequate medical care

All jails across California must give inmates proper care. This begins the moment that a person is detained. If they are in medical distress, they must receive proper care. A number of inmates don’t get proper care because correctional guards believe that inmates are “faking” their condition. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.

Consider, for example, the tragic death of Holly Jean Casey. Correctional officers found her in a semi-fetal heap in her cell. She complained for hours that she could not breathe and repeatably asked for help. She later died at the hospital due to complications from a pneumonia. Multnomah County eventually reached a settlement with her family. There are a number of ways that a jail may have improperly cared for an inmate.

  • An inmate may not have received a proper medical screening.
  • An inmate may not have gotten timely medical care.
  • Correctional officers may not have followed the advice of medical professionals.

Many inmate deaths are totally preventable. They often stem from inmates not getting adequate care early on. Far too often, jails will only care for inmates when they go into medical distress. Jails should be proactive about inmate care, but this ideal is seldom achieved. The family of any person that died in-custody may be able to seek some accountability through a constitutional claim.

Investigating San Diego County In Custody Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Paul Heimark. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There have been far too many inmate deaths in San Diego County. It is our sincere hope that there is oversight by California lawmakers and the DOJ.

Do you need more information about a San Diego County inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates may be able to help you. We are committed to protecting ordinary people from government abuses and jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an in-custody death we are here to serve your needs. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


legal disclaimer

Legal Disclaimer