LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that a lawsuit brought against Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca by a former inmate, who claims he was stabbed 23 times in a racially motivated attack encouraged by deputies, can go to trial.
The justices let stand a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that former prisoner Dion Starr had adequately argued in his lawsuit that the sheriff showed “deliberate indifference” to treacherous jailhouse conditions.
A Baca spokesman said the sheriff was “disappointed” by the decision.
“We will put forth our arguments in the legal arena and we’re looking forward to doing that,” Baca spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Starr contends that a deputy under Baca’s supervision allowed Latino gang members to attack him six years ago in the Central Men’s Jail.
The appellate court ruled twice last year that the sheriff could be sued by Starr.
In a 2011 summation, Judge William A. Fletcher wrote that Starr’s allegations “are plausible. They may or may not ultimately be proven by evidence. … Starr has sufficiently alleged a supervisory liability claim of deliberate indifference against Sheriff Baca.”