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On January 4, Della and Joseph A. Scata Jr. of Vista filed suit against the county. The suit charges that their son, Joseph A. Scata Jr., had had chest pains, flu, and related symptoms on October 31 while confined to the Vista Detention Facility.

Although he was "gravely ill," according to the suit, he was not given medical treatment and not taken to a doctor or a hospital. He died November 23 of emphysema and acute bronchopneumonia. His parents charge civil rights violations and medical negligence.

In 1990, when Scata Jr. was 29 years old, he went on a rampage in downtown Vista, smashing windows in 13 businesses and smashing a computer in another.

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Comments

AlexClarke Jan. 9, 2016 @ 6:15 a.m.

A lesson to those that do things that put a person in jail. You get minimal medical attention in jail.

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:42 p.m.

The first question: Is the "minimal" medical attention LEGAL?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:01 p.m.

Flapper: Prison medical care should be good under the law. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:43 p.m.

The next question: "Is it adequate?"

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:45 p.m.

Then, is it MORAL (whatever that means)?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:03 p.m.

Flapper: Prison medical care is probably inadequate nationwide. That is not ethical. Yes, legislation is probably needed. However, there are so many other critical needs, that I am not sure such legislation would pass. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 11, 2016 @ 8:59 a.m.

What's the line between ethical and legal? Are new laws needed? If not, any breach would be a legitimate cause of action, no?

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 5:03 p.m.

Flapper: You are asking me to count angels on the head of a pin. I will say this: scams are often legal, but always unethical. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2016 @ 7:53 a.m.

AlexClarke: Between 1989 and 2013, there have been multiple criminal charges against Joseph Anthony Scata, Jr. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 9, 2016 @ 10:07 a.m.

Charges? What about convictions? Has the expression "rot in jail" become literally and legally true?

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2016 @ 10:51 a.m.

Flapper: I don't know about convictions, other than the Vista rampage and whatever put him in stir last year. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 9, 2016 @ 8:19 a.m.

Just because you made mistakes in the past doesn't mean you can't have patient care when needed. Jail is devoid of decency.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2016 @ 10:53 a.m.

shirleyberan: I agree. The prisoner should have decent care no matter what he has done in the past. But this man's past suggests that he has a difficult personality. He may have had trouble convincing guards that he was really ill. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:38 p.m.

"He may have had trouble convincing guards that he was really ill. Best, Don Bauder"

That's not up to "guards," it's a MEDICAL diagnosis, which should be based on objective EVIDENCE, not speculation--or even pattern-recognition, by a qualified, licensed physician. Except for the patient's physician guards, or any other party do not even have a right to know anything about any person's medical condition or history without a court order, and the physician is required to maintain such records/information confidential.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:06 p.m.

Flapper: It is indeed a medical diagnosis, but an ill prisoner would likely tell a guard first. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 10, 2016 @ 7:39 p.m.

And a gaurd would likely ignore the nuisance.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 9:35 p.m.

shirleyberan: Very possibly, yes. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 11, 2016 @ 9:01 a.m.

If so, the guard would be liable, as well as the institution that failed to supervise the guard. That means that taxpayers pay the judgment.

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shirleyberan Jan. 11, 2016 @ 10:57 a.m.

Yes. Institutional guilt. Failure to train to be aware and respond to many medical issues of "street people". Where's care in custody or being arrested and transported.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 5:06 p.m.

shirleyberan: The guards at that jail may have been poorly trained. That will no doubt come out at trial. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:20 a.m.

Flapper: If the plaintiffs win the case, the taxpayers pick up the tab. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 12, 2016 @ 12:05 p.m.

So you're saying they'll just keep doing it.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 5:46 p.m.

shirleyberan: Possibly. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Jan. 9, 2016 @ 9:34 a.m.

Is it me?

Who is suing? Is it "Jr" or the senior? Is the person who died, 55 with emphysema, and commited crimes 26 years ago? If so, why are crimes 26 years ago relevant to what happened in 2015? Wouldn't the latest offense, whatever it was, be relevant?

If the plaintiffs in the story are his parents I'm just wondering if they even visited their son while he was in custody? Was he in the custody of our Sheriff, or was he a prisoner transfer from the state?

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2016 @ 10:56 a.m.

JustWondering: As I noted in post above, the dead man has been hauled in a number of times. The plaintiffs in the suit are the decedent's estate and his parents. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:07 p.m.

Flapper: Those issues are relevant in presenting the news. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 11, 2016 @ 9:25 a.m.

True. However, while it is not the duty of the news to comment or otherwise spin, news can vary in its effects on readers depending upon how it is presented and how complete it is with respect to all of the relevant facts.

The referenced issues are irrelevant in the context of comments made in this forum.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:22 a.m.

Flapper: The presenters of news can separately give their opinions in columns or editorials. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 9, 2016 @ 12:15 p.m.

To keep things even, maybe we should let the mentally ill keep their guns.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 8:07 a.m.

shirleyberan: We already do let the mentally ill have their guns. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 9, 2016 @ 1:25 p.m.

Was the man treated humanely or not. Where's the devil with his or her DETAILS?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 8:08 a.m.

Flapper: The plaintiffs say the men was not treated humanely -- basically, not treated at all. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 9, 2016 @ 8:01 p.m.

Actually Jr. had his first sentencing in 1983 for drug possession. In an LA Times story; "Vista Superior Court records show that Scata was sentenced to four years' probation in 1983 after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine and marijuana, a court clerk said."

If he had emphysema, he was most likely a very heavy smoker. Many inmates have health problems and they cannot all be sent to hospitals. It's also common for inmates to feign symptoms.

Court records show that he had numerous cases filed against him starting in the 80's, into the 90's and up to his death. If his parents are willing to sue, where were they when he needed help? I know we are a compassionate society, but sometimes you have to question the motives of plaintiffs (and their lawyers) when the writing was on the wall that tragedy was inevitable, one way or another. If his family is willing to sue, where were they when he needed medical care, mental health care and rehabilitation?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 8:11 a.m.

Ponzi: Obviously, we need to know what those multiple criminal charges were. I do not have time to do that. If somebody wants to take up the task, be my guest. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 10, 2016 @ 8:42 a.m.

True. They could be probation violations and other matters relating to a single case. One people get involved in the CJS, it can be difficult to get out and stay out.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 12:53 p.m.

Ponzi: Possible, but I doubt it. Cases can drone on a long time, but this would be a very long time. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 11, 2016 @ 9:15 a.m.

The charges, even the convictions, are not relevant to the case at hand.

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:25 p.m.

We can speculate and moralize 'till hell freezes over, but the issue remains "Was there neglect or not, and further, was said neglect the cause of death?"

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:22 p.m.

Flapper: Those questions go to the heart of the case -- the gravamen, so to speak. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 8:14 a.m.

Fred Jacobsen: Smashing 19 windows on a rampage suggests this is a most unusual case, especially when that rampage was followed by numerous other criminal charges. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:18 p.m.

The criminal charges are irrelevant to the issue at hand. Even if he was a convicted capital murder of 19 people, more or less, what are a prisoner's rights, and what are the jailers' rights and responsibilities?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:23 p.m.

Flapper: Profound queries, those. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 3:01 p.m.

NOTE: The lawsuit actually says that he was suffering from empyema (pus in the bodily cavity) and not emphysema. In the editing process, the word somehow got changed. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:02 p.m.

Thanks for the update. In that case he my have been beaten? Chest trauma? Choke hold?

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:11 p.m.

If he was beaten, this puts it into the category of Freddy Gray. Was there an autopsy or has the evidence been destroyed?

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 9:38 p.m.

Flapper: This may come out in court. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:05 p.m.

The elephant in the room here is our tendency to muddy the issue with "justifications" for neglect of prisoner well-being, not just the merits of an individual case.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:24 p.m.

Flapper: That will be one of the plaintiffs' arguments. Best, Don Bauder

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MichaelValentine Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:01 a.m.

Funny how the details of a crime committed 26 years ago are available to the press. I wonder if a prior bad act by the victim of state neglect is justification for the lack of medical attention now?

Anyway it's funny how whenever there seems to be neglect on the part of police in an in custody death the victims past misconduct always comes out irrespective of it's bearing on the death in question. You know, like they deserved it.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:26 a.m.

MichaelValentine: I understand your feeling that the alleged victim's past is irrelevant. However, to me as a journalist, omitting such information, such as the victim's past criminal history, is in itself an act of slanting the story. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 10, 2016 @ 4:05 p.m.

Further, a deeper issue is at what point neglect rises to the criminal level.

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Flapper Jan. 11, 2016 @ 9:18 a.m.

It would be news if it did. It would be news if the DA "neglected" to investigate and prosecute.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:28 a.m.

Flapper: In San Diego currently, it is not news -- and not surprising -- when the DA neglects to investigate and prosecute a case. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2016 @ 6:25 p.m.

Flapper: That I do not know. Best, Don Bauder

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MichaelValentine Jan. 11, 2016 @ 1:29 p.m.

As a former Correctional Officer I know that once the state detains someone their health care becomes the state's responsibility. As a housing unit officer I noted every inmate's health concern in the log book and had the Lt. initial it. And if the inmate had continuing problems I'd just call the medical office inform them and note that in my log book.

If anyone was going to burn for denying medical attention it wasn't going to be me. I have enough sins to answer for as it is.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2016 @ 10:30 a.m.

MichaelValentine: You were clearly a conscientious correctional officer. Best, Don Bauder

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Flapper Jan. 12, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Bauder, I don't believe anyone is impugning your reporting.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2016 @ 2:23 p.m.

Flapper: Oh, you haven't been following this blog long enough. My reporting gets attacked regularly. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2016 @ 9:14 p.m.

Flapper: Perhaps not. Best, Don Bauder

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