Victor Morales Jr Died In Lake County Jail After Medical Emergency
Wrongful Death - February 22, 2023
Victor Morales Jr, 50, of Zion Died In Lake County Jail Cell Following Seizure
WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS (February 22, 2023) – An inmate at the Lake County Jail identified as Victor Morales Jr has tragically died following a medical emergency in his jail cell.
Lake County officials are saying that the incident took place around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Correctional officers found Victor Morales Jr having a seizure in his jail cell.
A nurse at the jail and several correctional officers began CPR and used an automated external defibrillator. Victor Morales Jr was taken to the Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan in order to receive treatment.
Sadly, the inmate was pronounced dead at the hospital. The Lake County Major Crime Task Force is currently conducting an independent investigation.
Liability For Lake County Inmate Deaths
Inmate deaths have been a consistent problem across the United States. Every year a large number of inmates die in custody. The cause of these deaths often vary and may be due to inadequate medical care, violence or neglect. Though the issue of inmate treatment has received much attention from human rights organizations, the public and policy makers, much work still needs to be done. Preventing inmate deaths requires a multifaceted approach that properly addresses the unique causes of these deaths.
- Inmates should be given adequate medical care. This includes giving inmates a proper health screening before they are admitted.
- There should be increased transparency about all inmate deaths.
- Correctional officers should be well trained to understand when an inmate may be in medical distress.
Inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. Failing to give inmates adequate care is a deprivation of their right to due process and equal protection under the Fourth Amendment. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. Courts have determined that many different courses of action by jail officials could constitute “deliberate indifference.” This may include failing to give an inmate the proper medication that they need to avoid seizures.
Consider, for example, Borys v. Dart, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Ill.), Case No. 1:15-cv-08972. In October 2014, Michael Joseph Borys was booked into a Cook County Jail on a misdemeanor charge. He was seen by a physician and identified as having a history of seizures. He was prescribed anti-seizure medication, though this medication was not promptly provided. In the middle of the night, he suffered a seizure and was critically injured after falling from a top bunk. The Cook County Board of Commissioners eventually approved a settlement for the inmate. There are many steps that should be taken after any inmate death.
- Surveillance footage of the incident should be reviewed.
- The inmate’s medical history should be understood.
- An autopsy may need to be performed.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
Jails are supposed to be places of rehabilitation. But far too often, they are where inmates go to be neglected and mistreated. It is important that inmates and their families understand that they do have rights. The family of any inmate that died in custody may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a civil claim. Sadly, though, jails will often do everything in their power to deny responsibility when someone dies in their care.
Investigating A Lake County Inmate Death
We at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the family of Victor Morales Jr. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Did the inmate get a proper health screening? Were they prescribed anti-seizure medication? Could this tragedy have been prevented?
Do you need more information about a Lake County Jail inmate’s death? Our team of inmate’s rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates and their families are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (312) 564-4256.