Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jail Watch: Dallas Jail Inmate Corey Bailey's Death Under Increasing Scrutiny, Family Is Suing

Corey Bailey was 31 years old when he died, face down, on the floor of a cell in the Dallas County Jail this past June. No friends, no family, no last rites, alone on a cold floor, and we know he was scared - think about that.


So far, there's been an internal investigation - but none of the jail employees have been given leave, much less fired, for any wrongdoing - and the medical examiner's initial decision was that the cause of Bailey's death was "undetermined."

Sure doesn't sound like it's that hard to call ... and Bailey's family apparently thinks so, too, because they've sued.

Here's the backstory:

1. Corey Bailey was mentally ill, and suffering from paranoid delusions.

2. On June 27, 2008, Corey Bailey was to be moved from the Decker Jail to another facility.

3. Corey Bailey was mentally ill -- paranoid -- and scared of the guards - he confronted them, and they admit to spraying him with pepper spray.

4. Somehow, there's a gap in the story here (ahem), Corey Bailey is moved and he's placed face down in a new jail cell.

5. Twenty minutes later, according to the guards, they come to check on Corey Bailey and he's "nonresponsive." Read that, dead.

6. From the medical examiner, we know that Corey Bailey suffered from toxic effects of PCP, suffered from "excited delirium," and suffered from the "restraint by police officers," which together combined with "physiological stress associated with restraint" to kill him.

7. The autopsy report reveals that "traumatic asphyxia associated with restraint" may have contributed to Corey Bailey's death -- and that happens from choke holds or from pushing a knee into Corey's back (which would keep Corey from breathing).

Here's what the family attorney has pled in the lawsuit:

1. Corey Bailey was handcuffed at the wrists and ankles before anyone attempted to move him anywhere.

2. Six guards then dragged Corey Bailey down the hall by his pant legs and arms. That's right: SIX.

3. Corey Bailey was vomiting as they were doing this.

4. Corey Bailey spat at the nurse who was treating him for the pepper spray, and for an injury to his knee. (Before you get upset at this, put yourself in Corey's position. Ponder how you're feeling right about now, the fear and the anger .... add to that a delusion or two - maybe monsters are trying to kill you, or maybe aliens are trying to abduct you ... you're not in reality right now)

5. In response, a guard covered Corey Bailey's mouth with a plastic bag until a mask arrived (this is in the autopsy report).

6. Guards placed Corey in a cell, face down, and removed his cuffs (which we can assume means he was unconscious, right?)

Who Was Corey Bailey?

According to his brother Cedric, Corey was a church-going, hard-working guy who took care of his 10-year-old son. He had family who loved him.

According to medical records, Corey was a diagnosed mentally ill person, suffering from paranoid delusions.

According to autopsy records, Corey was a drug user because somehow, he had PCP in his system. (Isn't this curious???? ? Wonder when that PCP was put into Corey's body????? This PCP is just so darn convenient.)

Finally, according to jail records, Corey Bailey is the first inmate to die after an involvement with Dallas County jail guards since the jail was forced by court order to make "improvements" -- and these changes only happened after federal inspectors ruled that the Dallas County Jail was dangerous and indifferent to human suffering.

The Dallas County Jail was "dangerous and indifferent to human suffering."

When was that? Just 2 years back ... doesn't sound like much has changed, does it?

Meanwhile, the most sincerest of condolences to the family and friends of Corey Bailey, especially his ten year old son.


Dallas Morning News

Monday, December 29, 2008

Media Watch: Dallas Morning News Changes Its 100 Yr. Stance on Death Penalty

Today, the Dallas Morning News changed its position on the death penalty, and after 100 years the newspaper no longer supports capital punishment. Wow.

The entirety of the editorial is worth the read, but here are some excerpts in case you don't have the time:

"The year draws to a close with Texas in its familiar No. 1 place nationally in capital punishment statistics (18 of the nation's 37 executions in 2008). It has also been a year rich with examples of why this state should stop its error-prone machinery of death. ...

"For a change, discussion about flawed justice need not start in Dallas County, the nation's ground zero for DNA exonerations. Just to the north, Collin County illustrates how even a highly educated, affluent community can get it wildly wrong in the high-stakes gamble called capital punishment. ...

"There is no quick or neat fix for breakdowns in justice that range from poor technology to dishonesty among officers of the court. Dozens of DNA exonerations across the state – including the nation-leading 19 in Dallas County – have demonstrated how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be. Further, statistics indicate a disturbing arbitrariness of capital punishment, varying greatly by county. Data also show that a killer is far likelier to die for killing a white person. ...

"It's the view of this newspaper that the justice system will never be foolproof and, therefore, use of the death penalty is never justified. ...."

Read the full editorial here:

Editorial: Death penalty moratorium needed

For some earlier posts on issues addressed in this editorial, see:

Crime News: Bernie Madoff Scandal Kills DNA Testing for Wrongfully Convicted

Judge Watch: Secret Love Affair Between Trial Judge and DA Stops Execution?

Crime News: Will DNA Tests Free Johnnie Lindsey on Friday?