Q: Can a probation office or officer be held accountable for a wrongful death?
After serving 7 years my son had completed 4 of his 8 years of parole. His original issues involved opiate abuse & addiction and he was ordered to abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs during his parole. The system was such that his parole consisted of a weekly automated call in number and maybe a personal visit every 6-12 months. There was not any drug testing even on the personal visits. He learned quickly that he could fall into old habits without any consequences. On March 31st he passed away from an opiate and alcohol overdose. I don’t think his parole office even knows it yet as he is still listed as under active supervision on the inmate website. If he had been monitored as he should have been by his parole officer, I am confident he would still be alive.
A: No public servant has any personal liability for anything they do in the course and scope of their job. Remote check-in was extended because of the Pandemic. A parole officer is supposed to treat each parolee as instructed. If the Court did not order random drug testing or if it was suspended due to covid-19, the parole office had no authority to test.
If you saw that your son struggling/faltering for 4 years and didn't care enough to alert the authorities, how could you justify that you had a right to pursue the claim? Even if you could hold the PO liable and you got a judgment, who would pay? If someone sued you and got a judgment of several hundred thousand dollars, would you work the rest of your life to make payments or would you file Bankruptcy and erase the debt?
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