County settles jail-suicide suit

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ELKO (AP) — Elko County has agreed to a $30,000 settlement with the estate of a 49-year-old Colorado man who hanged himself at the county jail while being held on drug charges in June 2010.

James Duhon told jail employees he was a heroin addict and suffering withdrawals, his lawyers said in a lawsuit. But they say he didn’t receive the necessary constant monitoring despite jail records showing he was allowed medical treatment and placed in an isolation cell “for observation purposes due to a risk of further health and psychiatric problems, including risk of suicide.”

Duhon was attending the Elko Motorcycle Jamboree when he was stopped for having his handlebars set too high. In addition to drug possession, officers learned that Duhon was wanted on multiple felony warrants in El Paso County, Colo.

Four days after he was jailed, he hanged himself with strips he tore from a bed sheet in part of his cell not visible to a surveillance camera, then-Sheriff Dale Lotspeich said.

Duhon’s estate originally filed a lawsuit seeking more than $75,000 in damages.


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