Seth Topek
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Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending the Rights of the Accused and the Incarcerated
Posted on Jun 29, 2013

    Two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in a Galveston federal court against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Brad Livingston the executive director of TDCJ, the TDCJ medical care provider The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and other TDCJ officials.  The suits arise out of the death of thirteen inmates who died of heat related systems.  The families bringing the suit say they want to prevent more men from dying of heat strokes in Texas prisons.  

    The attorneys who filed suit have said that the deceased prisoners suffered from heat-sensitive medical conditions and were all serving time for non-violent offenses.  Robert Allen Webb a developmentally disabled man was serving a short sentence for DWI.  Larry Gene McCollum was serving an eleven-month forgery sentence at Hutchins State Jail when he suffered a heat stroke.  The men who died were on medications that made them more susceptible to heat strokes.  While all prison units are at least partially air conditioned only 21 are fully air-conditioned.  Not only is there no air conditioning but often the prison cells have little or no ventilation.  According to an article in the Houston Chronicle the heat index can reach 130 degrees.