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Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 4/27/2001 11:57:33 AM EDT
I doubt it. If a regular "citizen" did this then the d.a. would be all over the case like stink on sh*t.  

                         Dying Man's Shouts Went Unheeded
                         Struggling for Breath, D.C. Defendant Taken to Cellblock, Not Hospital

                         By Neely Tucker
                         Washington Post Staff Writer
                         Friday, April 27, 2001; Page A01

                         In his last moments of life, Robert Waters collapsed in front of the defense table in
                         Courtroom 115 of D.C. Superior Court last Friday and pleaded for help.

                         "Get me to D.C. General!" the 54-year-old defendant shouted over and over, according to
                         three witnesses. "I need air!"

                         Senior Judge Tim Murphy peered over the bench, called for nurses and then kept the busy
                         afternoon docket of traffic and misdemeanor cases rolling. As Waters lay prone in the well
                         of the court, struggling for breath with a nurse at his side, defense attorneys and
                         prosecutors haggled over plea bargains and fines. Defendants came and went. The court
                         clerk filed papers, and the rapid pace of the courtroom never slowed.

                         "We had something like 150 cases that afternoon, and if you stop the court, it can get
                         chaotic," Murphy said yesterday. "He was being attended to. There wasn't anything else we
                         could have done. . . . He looked like a street person. The marshals told me the nursing
                         staff had checked him out twice. He didn't seem in that bad shape to me . . . He kept
                         yelling for air. I finally leaned over and told him, 'Well, if you'd quit yelling, maybe you
                         could get some air.' "

                         Courthouse observers noted that defendants in hectic urban courtrooms often try to act out
                         medical complaints or otherwise disturb proceedings, so after 10 minutes, U.S. marshals
                         pulled Waters to his feet and returned him to the cellblock.

                         Then he died.

                         "The marshals thought it was a big joke," said another defendant in the cellblock who
                         requested anonymity because he feared retribution. "He kept asking for help, saying, 'I
                         can't breathe, man.' And the marshals would say, 'Right, buddy.' He finally collapsed on the
                         floor. When they went in there, he wasn't breathing."

                         D.C. fire department logs show operators first received a call at 3:01 p.m., at least 90
                         minutes after Waters first asked for help. He was in cardiac arrest, department records
                         show, when paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at Howard University Hospital.
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 11:59:20 AM EDT

                         A week later, Waters's death seems to have passed through the city's busiest courthouse
                         with barely a ripple. Other than Murphy, few court officers would talk about it, and few
                         seemed to know about the death of a defendant who apparently suffered a heart attack
                         while in court custody on a minor charge -- drinking alcohol in public.

                         "I have no comment about that whatsoever," said Todd W. Dillard, the U.S. marshal.

Waters's court-appointed attorney, Robert Athanas, would not comment. The court's
                         nursing staff also declined to comment. Other lawyers in the courtroom who could be found
                         declined to comment or spoke on condition that they not be named.

                         Jonathan L. Arden, the D.C. medical examiner, said last night that his office was awaiting
                         lab results to determine the exact cause of death.

                         In the courthouse, all inquiries were referred to Margaret Summers, the court's public affairs
                         officer, who did not know of Waters's death until informed by a reporter Wednesday.

                         Yesterday, Summers issued a two-paragraph statement, saying that the court was
                         "saddened by the unfortunate death" of Waters but noting that the court's medical staff
                         had administered to him four times that day, including providing cardiopulmonary
                         resuscitation after his final collapse.

                         In the hours before he died, "two different nurses, after checking his lungs and vital signs,
                         found him fit for further proceedings and transfer to D.C. jail," she wrote.
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 11:59:50 AM EDT

                         Waters was apparently homeless, according to his court papers, which list him as having
                         "no fixed address" for at least four years. One court file, however, lists an address in the
                         1700 block of Lincoln Road NE.

                         Court records show that Waters was arrested 27 times in the past 15 years, usually on
                         charges of petty assault, possession of marijuana, boarding a bus without fare or disorderly
                         conduct. He had been convicted of four misdemeanors.

                         No family members were listed in any court documents.

                         In his final run-in with the law, Waters was wanted on a bench-warrant charge when he
                         was arrested for allegedly drinking alcohol in public in the 2800 block of Bladensburg Road
                         NE on April 19.

                         The next day, he was listed as "D.C. lockup #2" in court files. He complained of breathing
                         problems twice to U.S. marshals while in custody and was seen by nurses each time.
                         Pronounced healthy, he was brought into the courtroom with many other defendants
                         between 1 and 1:30 p.m., according to Murphy.

                         He immediately walked into an open area in front of the judge's bench and collapsed,
                         witnesses said.

                         "There was a loud 'thump,' and everybody looked up and there was this guy, laying flat out
                         in the well of the court, yelling that he couldn't breathe," said one lawyer who spoke on
                         condition of anonymity. "The general mood in the room was that he was faking. The nurses
                         came in to look at him, the judge kept calling cases. Court kept going on around him."

                         © 2001 The Washington Post Company
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 12:00:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 12:02:33 PM EDT
"Citizen"?  WTF?  Who were "they"?




There is no duty to save anybody's life, whether you're a regular citizen or an irregular citizen.
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 12:26:19 PM EDT
So it is legal to refuse requested medical aid to someone being held in custody, which results in the individual's death?
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 12:39:26 PM EDT
Yeah, it's legal to refuse medical aid for someone in custody. If they die the person who authorized the refusal should obviously be held acountable. If LE had to take every whining perp to the hospital they'd never get the arrest done. If the complaint's legit, off to the ER with 'em. But plenty of perps know that they can throw a wrench into the system by requesting medical aid when they don't need it.

The case you mention seems a bit ludicrous though. No matter where you are in the US if you REALLY need an ambulance you can get one. The fact that one was not there within 10 minutes is ridiculous.
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 12:46:22 PM EDT
The law is the law!  Civility and common sense be damned!  [puke]
Link Posted: 4/27/2001 5:59:27 PM EDT
It doesn't sound like he was refused medical aid, two nurses looked at him and pronounced him OK to continue.  Nurses are human, and they're not always going to make the correct call, just like any of us.

That being said, it was NOT appropriate to continue holding court around him after he collapsed.  Even if someone is likely faking it, if they collapse in open court the paramedics should be called IMMEDIATELY!  Far better to take the extra time to make sure this guy is okay than to risk him dying unnecessarily.  If he's faking, charge him with contempt and bill him for the medics' time.  Not wanting to be inconvenienced is not an excuse to not make sure he is okay.

If I have a prisoner who is complaining of medical problems, they always get  offered medical attention, even if I think they're full of it.  I'm not a doctor, and I'm not going to risk someone's life just because I think I don't have the time.  If I think it's a ploy, I'll ask them if they want attention and tell them I'll charge them with initiating a false report if it turns out they're faking, but if they insist it's off to ER we go.  It's my job to save lives if I can, not play God.  When the 'smooth running of the criminal justice machine' takes precedence over protecting human life, we've lost our way.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 4:44:52 AM EDT
These nurses ought to have injunctions against providing services while they have their licenses yanked, which could take months if not years.

The judge out to be immediately transferred out of hearing any criminal cases while and an investigation begun about disciplining him.

Note that he had an attitude problem before, and even the death of this poor guy didn't cause him any regret.

[red][size=4] P.R.K.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 5:25:05 AM EDT
Cible....eeeeeeeehhhhh wrong..Good Samaritan Act...requires an attempt made
that asside...God requires it!
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 6:52:34 AM EDT
9divdoc, eeehhhhhhh, in Germany there is a law requiring one to render aid under threat of criminal sanction, but not here in the US.

The various Good Samaritan Acts indemnify you from civil liability if you make a good faith effort to aid somebody in an emergency.  It is not an affirmative duty.

Repeat: It Is Not An Affirmative Duty.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 8:35:43 AM EDT
In most states the corrections folks DO have a duty to provide reasonable medical care to folks in their custody, mainly because those folks don't have the option of going to ER on their own to get it.  Since that IS an affirmative duty, gross negligence in not providing it could possibly lead to criminal charges.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 10:22:37 AM EDT
In most states the corrections folks DO have a duty to provide reasonable medical care to folks in their custody, mainly because those folks don't have the option of going to ER on their own to get it.  Since that IS an affirmative duty, gross negligence in not providing it could possibly lead to criminal charges.
View Quote

That is inapposite to the subject of the post: "regular 'citizens'."  Regular "citizens" have few affirmative duties indeed.

Pay taxes.

Register with the Selective Service, and show up for induction if you're unlucky.

You do not, as a regular "citizen," have any legal duty to provide aid.  If I am walking down the street, and somebody is drowning face-down in 1cm of water, I am under no duty to save their life with a boot to their face (or otherwise).

I have no duty to piss on somebody if they are on fire.

I have no duty to take provide CPR or mouth-to-mouth or provide medical aid or first aid unless I am responsible for causing that situation and must mitigate.

I am a regular "citizen."
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 10:29:58 AM EDT
Re-read the topic of the thread, Cible.  It asks "Will these people be charged with murder?", referring to the judge, nurses, marshals, etc. involved in the case, not the 'regular citizens' who happened to be in the courtroom.  My post addressed what THEIR duties might be under the law, not yours.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 10:46:26 AM EDT
Thank you Sparky.  Reread the 1st line of the post that mentions "regular'citizens'."

Reread all of the posts, and you will see that "affirmative duty" started with the response, make that my response, to the misunderstanding of the various "Good Samaritan" acts.  Which apply to indemnify people who volunteer help.

No duty to volunteer.

Thank you.
Link Posted: 4/28/2001 7:43:24 PM EDT
I think that Cible's point was not against holding the government people (judge, other courtroom people and nurses), responsible.

He was challenging the statement that if ordinary citizens had stood by and let the guy die, that those people would have been prosecuted / faced being sued.

He's right, though Imbrog|io's anger at what happened was also right.

I don't know of a comparable situation where everday people would have been in a position like what the post was about, because it's not just that the officials didn't assist him much.  It's more about the fact, as Sparky315 points out, that this guy wasn't free get his own care.

It is surprising and maybe reprehensible that of all the other people in the courtroom, that no one stepped in and called 911.

Part of this was after they took him back to the cell block, but the judge's remarks sure make him sound like a first-rate ass who needs to be brought to justice.

[red][size=4] P.R.K.
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