Deceased inmate's family to receive $3.25M - New York News

Deceased inmate's family to receive $3.25M

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Deborah Braillard Deborah Braillard
PHOENIX -

Maricopa County will pay more than 3 million dollars to the family of a woman who died in a county jail.

Deborah Braillard -- a diabetic -- was denied proper medical care and died a few days after she was booked.

This settlement has become a contentious issue for the board. It's taken 3 meetings to get to this point.

The first was canceled because the chairman claimed it got out of control. At the second meeting, the board was split.

Tuesday, the board met at the county building where they don't usually meet, and took up just this one issue.

With most of the supervisors participating over the phone, they approved the settlement in a 3 to 1 one vote.

"This is a very important case for us. If we didn't settle it, it might have reached as high as 15 million and we can't do that. We can't do that to the taxpayers for any kind of reason," says Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Deborah Braillard was booked into jail back in January of 2005. She wasn't given the insulin she needed and died a few days later. Her daughter sued.

The board was expected to approve the settlement at its meeting nearly 5 weeks ago, but it was canceled. Chairman Max Wilson blamed the large group of activists who showed up.

Those same activists promised to stay away from the next meeting where the board's vote was split.

Tuesday, via telephone, the chairman switched his vote and barred the activists from making any comments.

"I'm curious to know why he doesn't want public comment. Does he not want to be held accountable? The question is what has changed in 20 days besides the election. You said it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers that we go to court. That he didn't want to work under this sense of pressure. What has changed in the last 20 days?" said Randy Parraz of Citizens for a Better Arizona.

Though a spokesman, Chairman Wilson refused to comment on his change of heart.

But Mary Rose Wilcox, the only board member to vote in person, says it's time for reforms in the jails.

"Nobody should ever come into our jail and be treated in a manner that could cause a death. We need to make sure that in this settlement we learn a lesson," said Wilcox.

So now after 8 years, a partial trial, and 3 meetings -- it's over.

We have yet to hear from the sheriff and the family of Deborah Braillard because a gag order has been issued preventing any of them from talking about the case.

Now that it's been settled, that gag order will be lifted, but it's not clear when.

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