Mother of Slain Correctional Officer Jose Rivera Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Administrators at USP Atwater/Federal Bureau of Prisons for the Wrongful Death of her Son

Jun 17, 2010, 14:52 ET from Law Offices of Mark Peacock

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark Peacock, Esq. representing the family of Jose Rivera, announced the filing of a lawsuit against Harley Lappin (Director of US Federal Bureau of Prisons); Robert McFadden (Regional Director US Federal Bureau of Prisons); Dennis Smith (Warden UPS Atwater); SIS technician Ziragosa; Marie Orozco; Lt. Jesse Estrada; Associate Warden Bell; Associate Warden Shinn; Unit Secretary Drayton and Unit Manager Bowles. Terry Rivera, Jose Rivera's mother, has filed her lawsuit against these individuals for their "deliberate indifference" which led to the death of her son, Officer Jose Rivera.

According to the lawsuit, on June 20, 2008, at USP Atwater in Atwater, California, Correctional Officer Jose Rivera was fatally stabbed by two apparently intoxicated inmates: Jose Sablan and James Guerrero (both serving life terms). The US Attorney General's office is seeking the death penalty against Sablan and Guerrero.

"This tragedy was avoidable. Officer Rivera faithfully served the people of the United States as a peace officer managing violent criminals and his life was unnecessarily cut short," said Mark Peacock attorney for Terry Rivera. "Why wasn't a correctional officer working at a maximum security prison given anything to protect himself? A stab-resistant vest? Pepper spray? A Baton? Why were prisoners drunk? It's time to get answers," added Peacock.

The lawsuit contends that the defendants were responsible for multiple dangerous conditions at USP Atwater which existed at the time of the murder. For example, misclassification/mishousing of inmate Guerrero; inmates making & consuming alcohol (getting drunk); inmates choosing their own cells; inmates making weapons; inmates controlling prison environment; exploding inmate population; seriously undermanned work force; etc. Officer Rivera was repeatedly subjected to these dangerous conditions (and others).  The defendants acted with deliberate indifference by participating in the creation of these dangerous conditions and failing and refusing to protect Officer Rivera from them.

"This was a totally unnecessary murder which could have been avoided. These individuals dishonored the correctional staff, and this dishonor contributed to the death of Officer Rivera," said Peacock.

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Mark Peacock, Esq. represents safety (law enforcement, corrections, fire) in various civil matters.

SOURCE Law Offices of Mark Peacock