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Public Safety

County To Pay $3M In Jail Heroin-Withdrawal Case

The San Diego County seal.
Michael Schuerman
The San Diego County seal.

A jury has determined that San Diego County will have to pay $3 million to the parents of a heroin-addicted man who died of an asthma attack while detoxing in jail.

The parents of Daniel Sisson sued the Sheriff's Department and the county in federal court on various claims, including wrongful death and cruel and unusual punishment.

San Diego CityBeat reported on Sisson's death early last year.


A forensic pathology expert testified in trial that the 21-year-old died from an asthma attack caused by the symptoms of heroin withdrawal.

The county's lawyer told jurors that Sisson lied about using drugs and refused medical treatment at one point.

On Monday a U.S. District Court jury found that the county and two nurses violated Sisson's civil rights.

U-T San Diego reports that the panel specifically found fault with the county's method of checking jail cells and its method for training staff to deal with inmates who are detoxing from drug addiction.

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