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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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April 24, 2013     Hays Free Press
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April 24, 2013
 

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Page 2A NEWS Hays Free Press April 24, 2013 VOE YES ON ROAD B()NDS + Suicide Lawsuit: Sheriff says 'no wrongdoing' Continued from pg. 1A with the criminal justice system, most often facing minor charges for non-violent offenses related to his mental illness." Riley's suit claims that her son was molested as a child by a neighbor and suffered post-trau- matic stress disorder. While still a juvenile, the lawsuit says Dykes tried to bum down the neigh- bor's house. He was charged with arson - also a felony. It was not immediately clear which de- gree of felony Dykes was charged with for the arson. Riley's case against the HCSO jail claims "the criminal justice system failed Eric- instead of get- ling the treatment he obviously needed for his trauma, he spent the rest of his childhood in and out of juvenile justice facilities." Boissevain-Dawes said Dykes may also have been failed by his family and society in general. In late December 2009, Dykes "took a purse" from on top of a car at the San Marcos Outlet mall parking lot while a woman was securing her child inside the vehicle. A warrant was subse- quently issued for his arrest for robbery - considered a second- degree felony in Texas - though the suit contends that Dykes "did not hurt anyone or use force (or threat of force) during the theft." Dykes admitted taking the purse but denied commi~Jng robbery He turned himself in and was booked Into the Hays County Jail in January 4, 2010, according to the legal complaint. His bonds totaled $155,000, according to j all records at the time. Riley's suit on behalf of her son says that the Hays County prosecutor "insisted Eric serve a lengthy sentence for robbery." In Chapter 29.02 of the Texas penal code, robbery is defined as committing a theft while inten- tionally causing bodily injury to another or intentionally threat- ening another in fear of immi- nent bodily injury or death. According to the indictment against Dykes, the Hays County District Attorney's office claimed that the deadly weapon used in the crime was a motor vehicle, which Dykes used to get away from the shopping mall. The DA'S office offered a plea deal of 20 years, the suit claims. The document also says "the po- lice had videotape proving Eric's story" but "it was not turned over to his attorney timely" Dykes' case was scheduled for March 28, 2011. The suit claims that the threat of 20 years in prison intensified his anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. He wrote to his mother, say- ing, "I can't explain how scared I am. I don't want to live a life like this. All this cold and steel and concrete drives me nuts. Now, here I am again alone with my thoughts." According to Capt. Brad Rob- inson with the Hays County Sheriff's Office, Dykes was trans- ported to and stayed at the Gua- dalupe County Jail because of overcrowded conditions in Hays County on two occasions, from January 22, 2010 to April 13, 2010 and again from July 20, 2010 to December 3, 2010. Robinson was in charge of the jail at the time Dykes was incarcerated. Dykes spent approximately eight months of his time at the other facility. As a result, the law- suit claims that the movement back and forth between the jails interrupted his mental health treatment, causing instability and inconsistency in that treat- ment. Cutler said in a recent inter- view that the practice of trans- porting inmates to other jail facilities has since been discon- tinued. The suit says due to the inter- rupted treatment, Dykes would "I can't explain how scared I am. I don't want to live a life like this. All this cold and steel and concrete drives me nuts. Now, here I am again alone with my thoughts." -Dykes in a letter to his mother "frequently become restless, have difficulty sleeping, and would often be dazed and le- thargic." It then states that, "be- cause of Hays County's deliber- ate indifference to Eric's serious medical needs, his mental health deteriorated throughout his in- carceration." On March 22, Dykes commit- ted what the lawsuit calls "a rule violation" to which about half a dozen officers responded. The suit does not define the viola- don. As a result, he was placed in a segregated cell. While being escorted to segre- gation by defendants Jesus Cava- zos and Manson Hanks, the law- suit says Dykes yelled, "if you put me back in seg, I'll kill myselfl" It goes on to say that Cavazos and Hanks told him to "calm down." The suit contends that the jail staff violated C~ommission on Jail Standards recommendations to reevaluate or reassess an in- mate's mental health before and after significant stressful event, such as court hearings, leaving and returning to the jail and be- fore sofitary confinement. According to the lawsuit, Dykes had several characteristics that made him high-risk for sui- cide. He was a Caucasian male under 40, faced a long sentence, was taking anti-psychotic medi- cations, faced serious criminal charges and had an upcoming court date. Yet, says the complaint, "Hays County's suicide assessment tool does not account for most of these risk factors, which led to the County's not providing Eric accommodations for his mental illness, such as regular counsel- ing or suicide screening." While in the segregation cell, Dykes apparently used the mesh commissary bag and a towel to fashion a loop and hung it through the partition in the open hole that had been used to sup- port a shower curtain rod. The rod was removed to prevent in- mates from hanging themselves, according to the complaint, but the hole in the partition was not covered or patched. The complaint says, "No rea- sonable correctional officer would give a suicidal inmate a towel or mesh bag or any other materials the prisoner could use to commit suicide." At that point, Dykes was not on suicide watch, according to the complaint. The jail's admin- istrative segregation check log shows that defendant Joshua Alba observed Dykes at approxi- mately 3 p.m. on March 26, 2011. He was still alive. The next ob- servation came at 4 p.m. - that's when Alba found Dykes hanging in his cell. The Dykes case is not the first death at the Hays County Jail, ac- cording to the lawsuit filed by Ri- ley In 2000, an inmate commit- ted suicide in the facili~ Then in 2008, an inmate died when of- ricers did not periodically check on him, despite a doctor's orders to do so. Cutler was not in office during either of those incidents. In 2004, following an investi- gation, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported to the Texas legislature that county jails, including Hays County's, needed to reassess inmates' mental health throughout their incarceration, use better surveil- lance to prevent suicides, and train jail employees to recognize suicide was possible at any time and anywhere in the jail. Riley's lawsuit contends that, "Hays County did nothing in re- sponse to this report." Yet about two weeks prior to Dykes' suicide, Cutler approved a suicide prevention plan, which says all correctional officers notify the shift supervisor and the on-duty nurse immediately if any inmate threatens self- harm. However, the Riley lawsuit asserts that Cutler "did not ad- equately supervise and train his subordinates...on the suicide prevention plan." Cutler was unable to comment on the lawsuit. Riley declined the opportunity to talk with the Hays Free Press about her son and the lawsuit. DROUGHT INFORMATION Effective April 19, 2013, the City of Buda has declared a Stage 2 Drought in accordance with the City's adopted Drought Contin- gency Plan and Water Conservation Ordinance. This action is the result of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) declaring a Critical Stage Drought, resulting in 30 per- cent well pumping curtailments. As a result, City of Buda water customers must take actions to conserve water. Irrigation is restricted to the hours between mid- night and 10am, and 7pm to midnight on the customer's designated day. Odd-numbered residential addresses maywater onWednesday and/or Saturday, while even numbered residential addresses may water on Thursday and/or Sunday. Commercial and multifamily addresses may water on Tuesday and/or Friday. Please refer to the drought link on the main page of the City's web- site at www.ci.buda.tx.us and the BSEACD website at www.bseacd. org for additional drought information. If you have any questions please call the City of Buda at 512-312-0084. I Together, let's For more information on the key roads that will be improved all over town, and the forward-looking plan- including long-term finance- adopted by unanimous vote of a citizen advisory committee, visit KeepKyleMoving.com. EARLY VOTING: APRIL 29- MAY 7 ELECllON DAY: MAY 11 Pd. Pol. Adv. by Keep Kyle Moving, RO. Box 602, Kyle, TX; Herb Dyer, Treasurer +