ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY RELEASES JAIL DEATH REPORT FROM THE 2007 SPECIAL CRIMINAL GRAND JURY

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release

 


April 7, 2008

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
RELEASES JAIL DEATH REPORT FROM
THE 2007 SPECIAL CRIMINAL GRAND JURY

 

SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (OCDA) announced today the release of The Investigative Report From The 2007 Special Criminal Grand Jury Inquiry Into The Death Of John Derek Chamberlain and the following statement:

 

BACKGROUND OF JOHN DEREK CHAMBERLAIN

In the evening of September 14, 2006, John Derek Chamberlain was arrested on allegations of possession of child pornography and possession of an open container of alcohol.  On October 3, 2006, Chamberlain was transferred to the Theo Lacy detention facility and assigned to “F” Barracks, West, a minimum security location.  Two days later at 6:50 p.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies were summoned to a location within the barracks where they observed Chamberlain lying on the floor.  He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He had suffered numerous severe blunt force trauma injuries, including multiple rib fractures, which lead to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. 

 

CONFIGURATION OF THEO LACY “F’ BARRACKS

“F” Barracks is divided into two equal halves, East and West, regularly staffed by two OCSD deputies and one Sheriff’s Special Officer.  The maximum occupancy of each half is 146 inmates.  A guard station for the on-duty deputies is located between the halves.  Each half of “F” Barracks has a central recreational day room.  There are numerous “blind spots,” or areas outside of open view. 

 

REQUIRED DUTIES OF OCSD DEPUTIES AT THEO LACY

In order to fulfill their duties, the OCSD deputies are required to regularly patrol the interior of the facility every 30 minutes on foot and observe the activities of the inmates. The purpose of these floor checks is to inspect “blind spots,” discourage assaults and verify that no inmates are injured or in need of help.

 

ACTUAL PRACTICE OF SOME OCSD DEPUTIES AT THEO LACY

In practice, some deputies regularly failed to perform their duties of securing the jail and the safety of its inmates.  They seldom performed floor checks.  The deputies instead largely remained in their guard station, where they were regularly seen watching television, full length movies, playing video games, browsing the Internet, chatting on-line, or sleeping with lights out.  Even when awake at their guard station, some OCSD deputies would go as long as 30 minutes without even looking out the windows to scrutinize the barracks under their supervision.  

 

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