The Orange County jail system continues to disappoint Southern California, many months after the death of Danny Pham.
Pham, an inmate, was killed in an OC jail cell in July of 2017. Attorney Michael Guisti filed a wrongful death claim on behalf of Pham’s family against Orange County in January 2018, which alleges that the OC Sherriff’s Department placed Pham in a cell with an admitted double-murderer, who then strangled him. In addition, the jail staff did not follow protocol in housing locations and mandatory cell checks, only discovering the murder three hours later.
The wrongful death claim lays out the facts:
- Pham was a non-violent car thief, but was placed with a mentally ill double-murderer, Marvin Magallanes.
- Magallanes admitted to killing homeless people. Pham was homeless, and it is believed that his hoarding of toiletries set Magallanes off.
- The murder was actually caught on camera.
- Magallanes was “sexually aggressive” with a prior cellmate, which led to Pham being switched to his cell. He even had a history of attacking a deputy, according to the Orange County Register.
In addition to this, the OC jailers lied about doing regular safety checks of Pham’s cell, which are mandatory. They then tried to cover up their wrongdoing. After Pham’s death, deputies and a civilian record keeper falsified logs to conceal their failure to protect Pham.
The Orange County Register (OCR) quoted attorney Michael Guisti as saying, “Danny’s death was not only preventable, it was foreseeable and certain.”
If it wasn’t clear enough already, this wrongful death claim shows without a doubt that Pham should have never been placed with Magallanes.
The Sherriff’s Department responds that the case is under investigation, but of course, they are not being forthcoming with the details. And why would they be? There are blatant inconsistencies with what the department is saying happened and what actually occurred.
Deputies who knew about Magallanes allegedly reported that placing Pham in his cell was like “placing a lamb with a lion.”
In cases like these, justice can be hard to grasp. Who is guarding the guards? Who provides oversight for the police and jailers?
At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our attorneys are dedicated to uncovering and fighting for the truth, and protecting your rights is our number-one goal. Whether you suffer from police misconduct or a felony DUI charge, contact us at (888) 478-8999 for a free consultation.