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No Answers Yet On Man's Death in Lawrence County Prison

Jason Reese

Death Reported at Lawrence County Jail

An inmate at the Lawrence County jail was recently found dead in his holding cell. 37-year-old Reno Riggle ended up in jail after being taken by police for violating a protective order. Riggle was also charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and endangering a person, operating a vehicle with alcohol content more a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.15 percent, resisting law enforcement and invasion of privacy. A police log provided information that an officer took Riggle to IU Health Hospital for an alcohol level blood draw but he was later cleared by medical staff and sent to be incarcerated. Riggle died soon after.

According to the Lawrence County Police log:

  • Riggle was found unconscious in his cell by a jail officer at 12:28 a.m.
  • The jail officer requested an ambulance.
  • The coroner, Rob Herr was requested to respond to the jail at 12:33 a.m.
  • At 12:53 a.m. an Indiana State Police detective was requested to respond to the jail.

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham says there was no evidence of foul play. Autopsy results are still pending and when those become available the Wagner Reese Prison Death Attorneys will be sure to update our readers as more information is concluded.

Inmates Have the Right to Be Cared For

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in the past decade, over 10,000 inmates have lost their lives in both city and county jails and men are eight times more likely to die while in the custody. Whether this inmate’s death was the result of a tragic accident, sickness, natural causes – or in some extreme cases inadequate or insufficient health care, abuse or mistreatment – his family and loved ones are left to suffer in his absence and deserve a full investigation to find answers.

Individuals being held at jails may be experiencing punishment for a wrongdoing, but they still have the right to be cared for in appropriate ways, including being provided access to appropriate and timely medical attention for illness, injury, or physical or mental state. Correctional facilities have a duty to their inmates to ensure the safety of those in their charge and may be guilty of wrongdoing or negligence in many jail or prison death cases.

Wrongful Death Cases

In Indiana, there is a statutory cap of $700,000 on damages for negligence cases against government agencies or actors. However, many jail and prison death cases involve violations of federal civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983. There is no cap on damages in federal civil rights cases, and attorney fees can be recovered from the defendant. Our attorneys understand the complexities of federal civil rights litigation and know how to plead a case so your claim is not limited by the state tort claims cap. If your loved one has suffered injury or death in an Indiana jail or prison, the wrongful death attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist you in recovering financial damages for the losses you have sustained. Contact us now at (888) 204-8440 to schedule an appointment in our Indianapolis or Carmel offices, or use our convenient, confidential contact form.


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