Special Considerations with In-Custody Death Claims

It goes without saying that the risks associated with law enforcement can be extreme, and final, for officers and arrestees. The scenarios most associated with these risk occur during the arrest, including pursuits and use of force decisions, however the risks do not end with the handcuffing. Although a statistically small relative number of arrestees suffer any ill effects, the risk of death while in custody is significant enough that it has become an often litigated area in law enforcement. This article attempts in a small way to explore some of the commonalities of in-custody death cases. Because of the sheer variety of mechanisms through which fatalities may occur it is impossible to describe all circumstances, or even most, in which these cases come to litigation. The only truly consistent element is that an arrestee, who is under the care and control of law enforcement, has died.



Michael J. Wolf

Page Kruger & Holland

  • Attorney in the law firm of Page, Kruger & Holland, P.A.
  • Practices in general litigation, public sector law, civil rights and workers’ compensation
  • Member of numerous professional and civic organizations
  • J.D. degree, University of LaVerne, College of Law; B.A. degree, University of California, Irvine
  • Can be contacted at 601-420-0333 or [email protected]

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