United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
ESTATE OF DENNIS E. ADAMS, Deceased, By ANGELA DREW, Administrator, Plaintiff,
CHRISTIAN COUNTY, BRUCE KETTLEKAMP, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Christian County and in his individual capacity, and ANDREW NELSON, in his official capacity as Christian County Jail Administrator and in his individual capacity, Defendants.
RICHARD MILLS, U.S. District Judge
a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
wherein the Plaintiff alleges the Defendants committed a
number of constitutional violations arising from the
incarceration and death of Dennis E. Adams at the Christian
County Correctional Center.
before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Partial
reasons that follow, the Plaintiff's Motion is Allowed in
part and Denied in Part.
Plaintiff's decedent, Dennis E. Adams, committed suicide
while incarcerated in the Christian County Jail on November
4, 2011. Dennis Adams had been arrested on August 19, 2011,
after he shot his wife, Jolene Adams.
the time period relevant to this case, Defendant Andrew
Nelson was the Jail Administrator of the Christian County
Sheriff's Office acting within the scope of his
employment under color of law. On August 19, 2011, at
approximately 7:51 a.m., Christian County Sheriff's
Deputies responded to a call that a woman had been shot. Upon
arrival, Officer Miller was advised that Jolene Adams had
been shot by Dennis Adams. Jolene Adams told Officer Miller
that she was getting into her vehicle, which was parked in
the driveway, when she was shot in the shoulder. Dennis Adams
fired several more times towards Jolene before leaving the
Adams was located approximately two hours later at 9:22 a.m.,
near the railroad tracks in the 100 block of South Baughman
Road in Taylorville, Illinois. When Mr. Adams was found, he
had a revolver handgun to his head. The Illinois State Police
Crisis Negotiator was called. Numerous police officers from
the Christian County Sheriff's Office were also present
at the scene.
Andrew Nelson was aware that after an approximately three
hour long standoff, Dennis Adams was apprehended by Officer
Nation and Deputy Marron when Adams placed the revolver down
to wipe his forehead. Adams was arrested and transported to
Taylorville Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a
small abrasion on his right forearm and an old ankle injury.
to the Christian County Mental Health Crisis Assessment form
dated August 19, 2011, Dennis Adams was evaluated for
suicidal tendencies at Taylorville Memorial Hospital by Barb
Brauer of Christian County Mental Health. Ms. Brauer
diagnosed Adams with depressive disorder not otherwise
specified. Andrew Nelson was given a copy of the August 19,
2011 Christian County Mental Health Crisis form on or about
August 19, 2011.
to the Taylorville Emergency Department Notes and the
Discharge Instructions, Dr. Matthew Yociss examined Dennis
Adams. In his discharge instructions, Dr. Yociss advised that
Adams should be given “suicide precautions.” Dr.
Yociss instructed Adams that he should follow up with Dr.
McClintock “as needed” for follow up care. The
Taylorville Memorial Hospital Discharge Instructions were in
the possession of the Christian County Sheriff's Office.
No follow up care was ever given to Adams.
Placement at Christian County Correctional Center
his evaluation, Dennis Adams was transported to the Christian
County Correctional Center. Andrew Nelson was aware that
Adams was going to be taken to the Christian County
Correctional Center prior to his arrival.
Christian County Correctional Center Padded Cell Report
states that Dennis Adams was placed into the “Padded
Cell” at 1 p.m. on August 19, 2011. The reason Adams
was placed into the Padded Cell of the Christian County
Correctional Center was because he was suicidal. The
placement was approved by Andrew Nelson.
Adams was placed on a 30-minute watch as opposed to the
standard 15-minute watch. When Adams arrived at the Christian
County Correctional Center, Correctional Officer Bill Hogan
completed an intake form. Nelson was given a copy of the
Adams was charged with two counts of Attempted First degree
Murder. On August 21, 2011, Adams's bond was set at $2,
000, 000. Adams was unable to post the requisite amount of
bond money and remained incarcerated at the Christian County
August 24, 2011, Mr. Adams's court-appointed public
defender, Michael Havera, filed a motion for examination by
psychiatrist. According to the motion, Mr. Havera had a bona
fide doubt as to Adams's fitness to stand trial or to
plead guilty and be sentenced. Mr. Havera testified that he
visited Mr. Adams approximately every two weeks. Havera
stated that Adams was cooperative in his defense and at no
time appeared suicidal. However, the Plaintiff alleges the
fact that Mr. Havera filed the motion demonstrates that
Havera noticed Adams had displayed psychiatric problems.
August 25, 2011, Dennis Adams was denied bond, meaning that
no amount of money would secure his release, while charges
were pending. The same day, Mr. Adams was re-evaluated by the
Christian County Mental Health Association. The Christian
County Mental Health Association Crisis Assessment form dated
August 25, 2011 provides that Adams was reevaluated by Julie
Chastain. Ms. Chastain recommended that Adams remain in the
Padded Cell because of suicidal tendencies and that he needed
to be re-evaluated on the morning of August 26, 2011. Ms.
Chastain diagnosed Mr. Adams with an adjustment disorder and
personality disorder not otherwise specified.
evaluation occurred after August 25, 2011. There was no
mental health treatment at the Christian County Correctional
Center during the time of Dennis Adams's incarceration.
August 30, 2011, Mr. Havera argued his motion for examination
by psychiatrist. The motion was granted. Subsequently, Dr.
Terry Killian of Killian and Associates in Springfield,
Illinois was appointed to conduct a psychiatric examination
of Mr. Adams for the purpose of giving opinions regarding
Adams's fitness to stand trial, his sanity at the time of
his alleged crimes and for possible psychiatric mitigation.
Dr. Killian was not hired to, nor did he, render any
psychiatric or medical treatment to Adams.
Defendants note that Dr. Killian did not mention in his
report that he felt Dennis Adams was suicidal or needed to be
under suicide watch. Less than a month before Mr. Adams's
suicide, Dr. Killian recommended that Adams be sent for an
inpatient evaluation and treatment in the Illinois Department
of Human Services. The Defendants allege that no action was
taken by the court or the prosecutor to transfer Adams to a
facility. Moreover, the Defendants allege they had no control
over the court or prosecutor and were helpless to do anything
at that time.
following day, according to the Padded Cell History and
Isolation Cell History, Dennis Adams was transferred out of
the Padded Cell and into the Isolation Cell. Andrew Nelson
was given a copy of the August 25, 2011 Crisis Assessment
prior to his decision to transfer Dennis Adams out of the
Padded Cell and into the Isolation Cell. This transfer was
done at the direction of Nelson. The transfer was also
ordered without the aid, direction, or consultation of any
mental health professional and against the recommendation of
Julie Chastain on August 25, 2011.
Isolation Cell is not suicide resistant and contains a number
of protrusions that were conducive to suicide attempts by
hanging. These include open-faced cell bars, clothing hooks
and a towel bar attached to the sink.
to the letter written by Andrew Nelson to Christian County
Sheriff Bruce Kettlekamp dated December 2, 2011, Adams was
transferred out of the Padded Cell and into the Isolation
Cell because another inmate, Lacey Myers, was booked into the
Christian County Correctional Center. Christian County
Correctional Center staff knew that Myers suffered from
mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, and
was a suicide risk.
Christian County Correctional Center has only one Padded Cell
and one Isolation Cell. According to the December 2, 2011
letter of Andrew Nelson, “Christian County Correctional
Center has only one padded cell at its disposal and housing
therein is based on immediate need.”
to the Padded Cell History, Inmate Myers was housed in the
Padded Cell from August 31, 2011 to September 1, 2011. The
Padded Cell was vacant from September 1, 2011 to September 6,
2011, while Mr. Adams was housed in the Isolation Cell. Adams
was housed in the Isolation Cell from August 31, 2011 to
September 13, 2011.
Transfer to Bullpen Area and suicide
to his letter, Andrew Nelson ordered Dennis Adams transferred
from the Isolation Cell to the Bullpen Area on September 14,
2011. The transfer was also ordered without the aid,
direction or consultation of any mental health professional
and against the recommendation of Julie Chastain on August
25, 2011. Nelson's letter to Sheriff Kettlekamp provided
that he ordered Adams transferred on September 14, 2011,
because another inmate incurred a disciplinary infraction.
Nelson testified the decision may have been based on
information from Christian County Mental Health.
Isolation Cell Report shows that the next inmate to enter
into the Isolation Cell was Aaron Matthews two days later on
September 16, 2011. The Bullpen Area of the Christian County
Correctional Center is a general population area. It has less