Two federal judges have rejected the State of California’s attempts to escape accountability for its botched transfer of 122 inmates into San Quentin State Prison, which sparked a wildfire of Covid that sickened two-thirds of the San Quentin population and killed 27 people. On May 30, 2020, the State transferred 122 inmates from a prison that had a severe Covid outbreak, to San Quentin, which had no Covid cases. State officials chose to transfer the inmates without testing them for Covid, without providing them with appropriate masks and PPE, and by packing them into overcrowded buses. Several of the inmates tested positive for Coronavirus within a few days of arriving at San Quentin, and the prison became a hotbed for the deadly virus. In what has been called the “worst prison health screw-up in state history,” the State’s decisions resulted in the Covid deaths of 26 inmates, in addition to killing beloved Correctional Sergeant Gilbert Polanco. Read the courts’ orders here and here. In response to these courts’ orders, the State continues to run from responsibility, filing appeals in both cases and asking the appeals court to give immunity to all of its reckless officials, so none of them would ever be held accountable. Haddad & Sherwin LLP represents the families of Sgt. Polanco and three of the inmates who died from Covid-19.
Haddad & Sherwin are California civil rights lawyers. Learn more about their work as jail death attorneys here.