What's Mom Worth?: When a Woman Became Deathly Ill in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail, Guards and Nurses Ignored Her Agony

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Dr. Wilcox was not shown the 2000 Moore and Associates report that detailed the continued unconstitutional medical conditions in Arpaio's jails.

Nor was he shown the 2003 Bosch study that, yet again, pointed out the ever-present unconstitutional medical conditions.

"I am shocked at those documents . . . I have never seen any of those."

The Justice Department also determined that the sheriff's recordkeeping was a farce.

Dr. Wilcox found that the medical records were backlogged for a full year.

"When I toured the medical records, I found upwards of 60,000 pages of unfiled documentation in the medical record section."

He was ordered by county liaisons to the Board of Supervisors not to put the incriminating data in writing.

"We owed the county a report about the state of CHS . . . What we found [was not] legal, and we were instructed to pull those from the report and to brief them only verbally."

The report was prepared during the period that Deborah Braillard was incarcerated.

That same year, 2005, the jail saw its medical accreditation put in limbo.

"For the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, this is a remarkable event. NCCHC is a very positive organization. They try very hard to help agencies with changes and compliance.

"For them to put a facility on probation was a rather remarkable step for them," acknowledged Dr. Wilcox.

Deborah Braillard, mother


The banging on the door is loud.


They start kicking in the freakin' door. Everyone's yelling. My God, my God, I can't get out. Where do I hide? I can't hide! Fuck, FUCK. Flush the drugs . . . Everyone's running around the house terri-fucking-fied.

Before anything could be dumped in the toilet, the cops were inside, and when the yelling settled down, they had all three of us.

They found eight bindles in my bedroom closet, and under my bed, a mirror, a cocaine pipe, and a few rocks.

Even now, my heart races when I think about it. WHY? WHY? WHY?

Thank God my mother's taking care of Jennylee.

I live with Jean Yvonne Ford in Kirkland, Washington. In February, Jean bought some cocaine from an undercover cop while carrying additional cocaine and a syringe in her bra, more drugs in every pocket, and a couple of thousand dollars cash — not to mention an accounting sheet with all of her drug transactions. Brilliant, right?

Under the circumstances, Jean got real cooperative.

Jean told the cops she had another four ounces of coke in her safe at home, as well as three grand in bills. She told the cops they could search her home and that they would find her son, Kenneth Rogers, Rene Duran, and me.

I admitted I sold the rocks for my rent. Smoked my fair share, too.

They read me my Miranda rights, which was about the first time that happened, but not the last.

Jennylee Braillard, daughter

(2010 interviews)

"I have always been the type, if someone is in a coma, I believe they recognize you being there. One nurse told me, 'Just keep talking to her. She can hear you. I've seen some pretty wild things happen.'

"They cut her hair, which would have upset her. It upset me."

"And all the time, the doctors kept up the pressure to unplug her.

"We told them if her heart stopped, don't revive her."

Because Deborah's body retained fluids, she swelled grotesquely.

"The big enormous chain around her ankle . . . it was embedded in her leg. Her organs shut down."

Arpaio's deputy, stationed near Deborah, refused to unshackle the woman, though Jennylee said her mom was released from jail once she was sent to the emergency room.

Her feet had turned black. Her mouth was scabrous.

On January 23, three weeks after her arrest, a priest came into the hospital to visit.

Deborah Braillard had a Bible when she coded.

"I freaked and left the room."

The doctor came around the corner searching for Jennylee.

She screamed, "I know. I know!"

Deborah Braillard, mother

There is no shock, but shock. There is no suffering, but suffering. There is no agony but agony. There is no death, but death. There is but death.

Dr. Todd Wilcox

(2008 deposition)

Upon his arrival, Dr. Wilcox decided that the two principal reforms necessary to make healthcare in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail less deadly involved up-to-date health records and a thorough intake process.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey