Inmate Sergio Martinez, 56, Died In Custody After Medical Emergency At Los Angeles County Jail

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (December 10, 2023) – A 56-year-old inmate identified as Sergio Martinez has tragically died in-custody at a Los Angeles County jail.

Los Angeles County officials are saying that the death took place on November 14. Correctional officers noticed that Sergio Martinez was in some type of medical distress.

He was transported to the Los Angeles General Medical Center where his condition continued to decline. Sadly, he was later pronounced dead by medical staff.

His medical cause of death was listed as sepsis and toxic shock. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Los Angeles County Inmate Deaths

Illness remains one of the leading causes of in-custody death. This is also true with respect to infectious diseases. According to the CHEST Journal, “Although prisoners and inmates make up only 3% of the US population, they bear a disproportionate burden of infectious disease; reports have estimated that 4% of all tuberculosis cases, 20% to 26% of all HIV/AIDS cases, and 29% to 43% of all hepatitis C virus cases in the United States are in prisons and jails.” Prisoners in the United States have a higher chance of dying from sepsis than the general population. There are a number of steps that jails should take to protect inmates from sepsis.

  • Jail staff should have adequate education and training with respect to the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
  • Inmates should get a thorough medical screening when they are first admitted.
  • Inmates should have access to vaccinations which can reduce the risk of infectious diseases.
  • Jails should implement proper sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting practices.

When the state assumes control of a person through incarceration, certain constitutional standards must apply. Correctional officers are not permitted to use excessive force. Nor is a jail allowed to deprive an inmate of the medical care that they need. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are a number of ways that a jail may have contributed to an in-custody death.

  • Jail officials may have failed to get an inmate to the hospital in a timely manner.
  • Jail officials may have failed to get an inmate the medication that they needed.
  • Jail officials may have failed to follow the instructions of doctors and nurses.

Many in-custody deaths are highly preventable. It is common for jails in LA to list in-custody deaths as “natural.” But this designation is often highly misleading. Many so-called “natural” deaths involve inmates who are extremely young. The fact of the matter is that many “natural” deaths involve some amount of jail medical neglect. The family of any person that died in-custody may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim.


Getting Legal Help After A Los Angeles County Inmate Death

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Sergio Martinez. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened. It is our sincere hope that greater oversight of the jails in LA County will lead to lasting reform that makes them safer.

Do you need more information about a Los Angeles County inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that jails are following constitutional standards. In fact, we focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by law enforcement abuse or 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.


legal disclaimer
Legal Disclaimer