ABC 15 and star reporter Dave Biscobing have the scoop again on the civil trial in Pinal County regarding the 2005 wrongful death of diabetic mom Deborah Braillard, who was denied medical treatment while in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's gulags and later died because of that lack of treatment.
Earlier this month, Biscobing broke the news that the trial had been halted and a seven-figure settlement agreed to by Braillard's family and Maricopa County. Yesterday, Biscobing revealed the settlement amount, $3.25 million, which will be voted on today at a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting.
-Joe Arpaio's Victim Deborah Braillard: Seven Figure Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit, ABC 15 Reports
-What's Mom Worth?: When a Woman Became Deathly Ill in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail, Guards and Nurses Ignored Her Agony
-Arpaio Snuggles Up to an Ex-Inmate in His Cynical Bid for a Sixth Term
-Paul Penzone Can Beat Arpaio, If He Turns Up the Heat
That's in addition to $1.8 million in legal fees already billed to the county, a tab that will increase, once the billings from the trial have been submitted.
The circumstances of Braillard's death were horrific. In county jail after her arrest on a minor drug-possession charge, Braillard quickly grew sick without her medication.
She groaned and cried for help as she defecated and vomited on herself and others. Her fellow inmates tried to get the guards to seek medical attention.
"This is jail," one MCSO detention officer reportedly told them. "Get over it."
These idiot guards thought she was enduring withdrawal from a drug habit. She wasn't. Her autopsy later revealed there were no illicit drugs in her system.
Braillard slipped into a diabetic coma and died three weeks later, chained to her hospital bed by MCSO goons, though she had been officially released from their custody.
Former jails medical director Dr. Todd Wilcox testified that the county regarded the deaths in Joe's dungeons and the accompanying lawsuits as "the cost of doing business."
He also testified about evidence in the case being swiped and deleted from his computer. And he wasn't the only witness testifying to this effect.
The judge ruled that the jury was to be told about the MCSO's coverup, including missing jail videos and recordings of Braillard's phone calls.
A side note: such coverups and destruction of evidence are illegal. But the MCSO and county officials have been caught doing so by Braillard's attorney, tort titan Mike Manning, on numerous occasions, the most infamous example being the destruction of Scott Norberg's larynx.
MCSO inmate Norberg died in 1996, suffocated by detention officers in one of the MCSO's infamous and now-banned restraint chairs. Norberg's unlawful execution eventually resulted in an $8.25 million settlement with his family, also represented by Manning.
But the U.S. Attorney's Office punked out on that criminal investigation, just as it did recently by ending the four year-long inquiry into the MCSO's criminal abuse-of-power violations.
In Maricopa County, justice takes a holiday if Arpaio is involved.
Add this $5 million-plus in costs for Braillard vs. Arpaio to the $50 million in legal fees and lawsuit payouts by the county because of various complaints against the MCSO, from wrongful arrests and harassment to wrongful deaths and injuries.
Another reason the county settled: In this case, the jury could have awarded punitive damages against individual defendants, including Arpaio himself.
If Arpaio personally faced bankruptcy for the systemic, criminal problems in his jails, much less for any of his other misdeeds in office, you can be certain his reign of error would quickly be corrected.
Alas, such is not the case. County taxpayers foot the bill, or rather the cost of the insurance that will cover it. The deductible for that insurance is now $5 million, up from $1 million, and you know part of the reason why.
Kudos to Biscobing and ABC 15 for their stellar reporting. It's been a service to the community, particularly during this election season. Now if voters will only act accordingly and remove this criminally incompetent sheriff from office.
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