Thursday, March 13, 2008

Judge calls immigration officials' decision 'beyond cruel'

Henry Weinstein for the L.A. Times writes on a deeply troubling immigration case:

"In a stinging ruling, a Los Angeles federal judge said immigration officials' alleged decision to withhold a critical medical test and other treatment from a detainee who later died of cancer was "beyond cruel and unusual" punishment.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson allows the family of Francisco Castaneda to seek financial damages from the government.

Castaneda, who suffered from penile cancer, died Feb. 16. Before his release from custody last year, the government had refused for 11 months to authorize a biopsy for a growing lesion, even though voluminous government records showed that several doctors said the test was urgently needed, given Castaneda's condition and a family history of cancer, Pregerson said.

But rather than test and treat Castaneda, government officials told him to be patient and prescribed antihistamines, ibuprofen and extra boxer shorts, the judge wrote in a decision released late Tuesday. In summary, the judge wrote, the care provided to Castaneda "can be characterized by one word: nothing.""  (emphasis added).

I am proud to say that Judge Dean Pregerson is an alum of UC Davis School of LawHere is a copy of the ruling care of Dan Kowalski and Bender's Immigration Bulletin.

Postscript:  The federal government later admitted that its negligence was responsible for the death in the case.


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