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San Diego County Digest

SANTEE : Jury Told County at Fault in Jail Case

August 20, 1992|From Staff and Wire Reports

An attorney for the family of a woman left with severe brain damage after attempting suicide in jail told a San Diego Superior Court jury Wednesday that the county was responsible for the woman's condition.

Tom Adler, attorney for the family of Keon Ja Lee, said the family deserves to be awarded millions of dollars in damages because Lee failed to receive proper supervision and psychiatric care.

Lee, 38, a naturalized citizen from Korea, attempted to hang herself on Jan. 30, 1989, at the Las Colinas Jail for women in Santee. Lee was arrested three weeks earlier on suspicion of having stabbed her 11-year-old son with a kitchen knife.

"It was pure indifference," Adler told the jury. "Not caring about Mrs. Lee, that's what it was all about."

During his three-hour closing statement, Adler discussed trial testimony from doctors and other inmates. He also showed the jury several enlarged versions of records and forms which he said proved the lack of care and indifference Lee received.

Deputy County Counsel Tom Sharkey, who is defending former Sheriff John Duffy and many department employees, is scheduled to give his closing argument today.

A four-week trial followed the filing of a lawsuit by Lee's husband, Seung Kyu Lee, who is seeking $25 million in damages.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday August 21, 1992 San Diego County Edition Metro Part B Page 2 Column 2 Metro Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Suicide attempt--A story in The Times on Thursday incorrectly stated that the attorney for the family of a woman who tried to kill herself in jail had said the family should be awarded millions of dollars. The attorney, Tom Adler, did not mention monetary awards.

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