Let me start this post with my condolences for Evelyn Romero. I have met and talked to her on several occasions over the years and I understand the pain she must be going through. Losing two children and a husband since the year 2000 must be very hard. She also lost her mother in law the day after the death of her son Ronnie. I have a 23 year old son and a 16 year old daughter they along with my wife are my life. I can't imagine a day without them.
As most of you are aware Evelyn's son Ronnie died in jail on Sunday September 21, 2008. Her youngest son Robbie Romero, age 7, disappeared from the family's Bellamah Drive neighborhood in June 2000. Ronnie was always described as a "person of interest" in the disappearance in the City Police case.
Ronnie's autopsy was held on Monday September 22 and during the autopsy a balloon with suspected heroin was located in his rectum (is there a better way to describe this?). This brought about many questions as to how it gets there, why jail officials cannot stop this, along with many other questions.
The sheriff's office, the jail, the county government and others get sued by family members of both those who overdose in jail and those who die in jail in drug related deaths. The same firm (Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP) has had the gall to sue the county for failing to do enough to stop drugs coming into the jail and in the same breath and a different case, file a separate lawsuit for doing too much to stop drugs from coming into the jail. In the end the only one who wins in these lawsuits is the attorneys who have gotten filthy rich over these lawsuits. These attorneys file wide sweeping lawsuits suing anyone and everyone knowing that its cheaper to settle than litigate many of these cases. The earlier mentioned firm even knows full well that the Sheriff's Office is not allowed by the county to have anything to do running the jail yet they still name the Sheriff in all lawsuits having to do with the jail. Typical slash and burn tactics to ensure they can rake in as much money from as many people as possible.
These lawsuits have medical personnel, jail personnel and others scared to do anything. Inmates know that jail officials and others cannot perform any type of invasive body cavity searches so they swallow drugs in balloons in order to excrete them later or vomit the drugs back out later. They also simply insert the balloons into the rectum in order to remove them later. I am really going to gross you out now but I have seen where an inmate was suspected of bring drugs into the jail. The inmate was placed into what is called a dry cell, one without a toilet. The inmate admitted to excreting the drugs on the floor, digging them out of the excrement, and swallowing them again so they would not be found by jail personnel. Cigarettes and tobacco are brought in in the same manner.
Even when police and sheriff's get a court ordered search warrant allowing for a body cavity search, medical personnel refuse to do so stating they will not jeopardize their malpractice insurance costs by doing so. The doctors and hospitals would rather say no to a judge than face the lawsuits by the newest form of ambulance chasers. Of course jail personnel cannot do invasive searches. Hospitals have even refused to do a simple x-ray to determine if drugs were in the body. Do I seem harsh with my words? I have actually had detectives arrive at the jail to investigate a case and have private investigators and representatives of civil attorneys waiting at the front door trying to see the inmates before our investigators even begin the case.
I know there will be a lawsuit in the Romero case, I would not doubt if the above mentioned law firm did not send their business card with flowers to the funeral home. Everyone wants to blame someone when a loved one dies. When someone smuggles drugs into a jail, distributes them to inmates, and then someone dies from those drugs who is to blame? Lawsuits are usually based on proving that a person, company, or government was negligent in its duties to prevent or stop an incident. The same lawyers who sue for these cases are the same ones who tie jails hands and create ways for inmates to bring in drugs, cigarettes, and other contraband.
Which reminds me, would you quit smoking or smoke a cigarette that came from the rear end of your cell mate! I don't smoke but I think it would be enough to make me quit. I guess I have ended up using this post to rant but when I see these attorneys deposit another half a million or more taxpayer dollars in their bank account it sticks in my craw. Want an example?
In the Santa Fe Strip Search lawsuit the inmates got an average of $2,500 the attorneys, (same ones I mentioned above) got 2 million dollars. Think about that, the Firm Donatelli and Rothstien collected two million dollars for 6 months work in the Strip Search lawsuit. Even if they worked all day every day 40 hours a week this comes out to a ridicules hourly wage. I have said it before, if these attorneys at least used some of the money to help inmates receive things like drug rehabilitation or job training then I could give them some credit. Imagine what counties could do with money given to these firms or our insurance carriers which charge high premiums due to these attorneys.
We lack adequate mental health inpatient treatment facilities, inpatient drug rehabilitation facilities and even enough outpatient treatment for inmates and those who need help before they become inmates. All this money could go to these and other worthy programs. I am one who believes we need tort and other reforms which will reign in these class action and other lawsuits. How many times do citizens get a coupon worth $20 or less in these class action lawsuits while the attorneys get millions. How is this fair? Sometimes I feel like sticking my head out a window and yelling "enough is enough!"