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Suit filed following inmate's suicide

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A father whose son committed suicide while in a southern Indiana jail has filed a lawsuit against the county and its sheriff.

Lester E. Tipton Sr., who is the personal representative of the estate his son, Lester E. Tipton Jr., filed the suit last week against Lawrence County and Sam Craig, in his official capacity as sheriff of Lawrence County. Tipton Jr. was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated October 4, 2008, and booked into the Lawrence County Jail. No one asked any mental health or medical questions during intake and Tipton Jr. later told sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers he was going to kill himself. No one acted on the threat and he killed himself that same day.

The suit alleges that the sheriff’s deputies and correctional officers were deliberately indifferent to his need for increased monitoring or health screening, and at the time of his death, the jail was overcrowded. Because of the overcrowding, the officials couldn’t properly monitor Tipton Jr.

The suit claims Tipton Jr. was deprived of his rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and 14th amendments of the federal Constitution, and under Article 1, Sections 11, 15, 16, and 21 of the Indiana Constitution.

The suit, Lester E. Tipton Sr. v. Lawrence County, et al., No. 4:10-CR-120, seeks compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and any other proper relief.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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