Wagner Reese has long been shining a light on Indiana’s inexcusable jail and prison deaths. Sadly, the United States government has refused to take meaningful action to keep incarcerated individuals safe during their detainment. Attorney Stephen Wagner, founding partner of Wagner Reese, is currently working with the family of Tia Meyers, who tragically died only 3 days after she was arrested and booked in Whitley County Jail. WANE 15 interviewed Attorney Wagner to discuss Wagner Reese’s work on this vital case.
Finding Justice for Tia Meyers
Tia Meyers was struggling to overcome addiction so she could be a better parent when she was arrested for an outstanding bench warrant. She had previously been booked for speeding and the possession of marijuana and a small pipe; the bench warrant was issued when she did not attend her court date. Nevertheless, these minor transgressions should not have resulted in her death.
Attorney Wagner is currently working with Ms. Meyers’ family to uncover the truth and seek justice on her behalf. Though she died in late August, the family’s requests for information from the coroner went unanswered for months. When the county coroner’s office finally responded, they were given a simple explanation: It was an accidental death caused by methamphetamines. However, this explanation is both insufficient and overdue, and we believe Ms. Meyers’ death could have been prevented.
News & Media Coverage
WANE 15 reached out to our office after learning about the pending case against Whitley County Jail. Ms. Meyers’ death is a tragedy that has left a permanent scar on her family.
“Tia could have been their daughter, their friend, their mother, she was a mother to four young children,” Attorney Wagner told WANE 15. “I saw some troubling signs that this may be a situation where Tia was going through withdrawal symptoms that were not treated, which resulted in complications and led to her death.”
The unfortunate truth is that when someone is detained, they are denied control over their health and medical care. As Attorney Wagner discussed with WANE 15, the jailor has a constitutional duty to provide individuals taken into custody with the medical care they need. For Ms. Meyers, she required medical attention for her withdrawal symptoms; the lack of such treatment caused her to die in 3 short days.
Her death was a failure of the criminal justice system, and we are demanding answers and justice for her family. We stand by our claim that her struggle with addiction was absolutely no reason for her to die in the horrific manner that she did. No one should suffer an untimely death, particularly when under police custody.
Prison Negligence and Jail Death Are Human Rights Violations
Under the United States Constitution, the presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of a just legal system and a practice most Americans are proud of. Wrongful charges, police brutality, and approaching the care of incarcerated individuals with negligence are all civil rights violations that not only presume guilt, but seek to punish perceived wrongdoers outside the bounds of our nation’s lawful court system. Furthermore, incarcerated individuals have no way to advocate for or defend themselves, making them vulnerable to abuse.
As legal professionals, we demand rights for these Americans in order to protect the sanctity of our criminal justice system. Attorney Wagner and our award-winning legal team will continue to investigate Ms. Meyers’ death and help her family find recourse for this tragedy. We are fighting for justice in Ms. Meyers’ name, as well as to prevent any further mistreatment of those in Indiana’s jails and prisons.
Wagner Reese Is Committed to Justice
Wagner Reese’s lawyers are recognized among the nation’s premier legal professionals, having earned numerous awards from an impressive roster of legal organizations and publications. We provide our clients with fearless representation against injustice because we hold their cases as our highest priority.
Our founding partners, Attorneys Wagner and Jason Reese were named in Top 25: Indiana Super Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America©, presented by Best Lawyers®. In addition, Attorney Wagner was selected as the 2006 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He was also deemed a Distinguished Fellow in 2014 by the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Attorney Reese has been listed among Indiana’s Top 25 Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyers by the Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyers Association time and again, and he has earned the Leadership in Law Distinguished Barrister Award.
These are only a few examples of our firm’s accolades. Multiple attorneys at our firm have been honored by Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers®, and some have been invited into the National Trial Lawyers, which only admits the nation’s premier legal professionals. Attorney Reese is among this distinguished demographic.