Kenton Co., jailer deny blame in inmate's death

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON -- A $1 million lawsuit over the death of a diabetic inmate at the Kenton County Jail may be turning into a debate over who's responsible for the jail.

County officials control the jail's budget, but deny that they are policy makers for the facility. Jailer Don Younger responded the same way. He, too, says he doesn't have the responsibility to make jail policy.

Their denials came in written responses to the federal lawsuit filed over the June death of James Franklin Jr. They are being sued by Mr. Franklin's children, who claim their father was left to die without proper care. He died in a basement cell, naked and lying next to some partially eaten food.

To Scott Greenwood, one of the attorneys representing Mr. Franklin's family, it doesn't really matter which officials are the policy makers. He sued them all anyway.

"If you believe both of their responses, nobody has the legal responsibility for that jail," he said. "That is ridiculous."

Mr. Younger, in his response, says his actions regarding the 68-year-old Covington man's death were reasonable, proper, justified and legal and that he acted in good faith and without intent to harm.

He does admit that he, as well as nurse Pam Sams and others, had the authority to transfer Mr. Franklin somewhere else for medical care. Ms. Sams, in her response, denies that she did. She has said that she tried to get Mr. Franklin transferred but that no one would listen to her.

Mr. Younger also said any damages caused to Mr. Franklin were caused by unforsee-able things for which he bears no responsibility.



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