Many Questions Surround The May 2015 In-Custody Death Of April Brogan.

How Does A Young Woman Die Of Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome Un-Observed By Jail Staff?

September 9, 2015
"Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Actor John Vernon as Fletcher, 1976 - "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

How Did Jail Staff Fail To Detect Inmate Brogan's Drug Withdraw Symptoms?
Did Jail Staff Simply Ignore Brogan's Illness?

On April 29, 2015 April Brogan was booked into the Volusia County jail under the charges of prostitution and dealing in stolen property. Within 2 days of her jail booking, Brogan would die in custody from opiate withdrawal syndrome (see below - autopsy report).

Brogan was discovered dead in her cell by her cellmate, Jessica Volinksy, 33. Volinksy would advise county investigators that corrections officers has no idea how sick Brogan was. However, Jessica Hall, 31 - another inmate housed near Brogan, stated that Brogan was "so sick she couldn't barely move", and that jail staff ignored it.(see Daytona Beach News Journal Article --->)

The Volusia County Sheriff Department stated that they conducted an "investigation" into Brogan's death (see below - VCSO report).

Within the VCSO investigative report, it is noted that Brogan allegedly failed to advise jail staff that she was withdrawing from drugs.

VolusiaExposed.Com assumes that the jail administration has found some comfort in the alleged fact that Brogan failed to report her drug use, therefore, an assumption should exist that any fault associated with her in-custody death can not be attached to the jail.

Click To Review Entire Article

Did The Jail Follow Procedures?

According to the attached Daytona Beach News Journal article, County Spokesperson, Dave Byron stated that the county reviewed her (Brogan) death and determined staff correctly followed policies and procedures.

According to the jail policy & procedure 400.18, there are four formal daily inmate head counts (0300 hrs, 0800 hrs, 1600 hrs, and 2300 hrs).

On page 2 of the policy ---> - it discusses the 2300 hrs headcount/lockdown/wristband check procedure.

Each inmate is required to wear a wristband, which identifies the inmate's name and booking number. At 2300 hrs (11pm) the inmates are locked in their individual cells for the night, and a corrections officer visits each cell, and examines each inmate wristband, to insure that the correct inmate is secured in the correct cell.

This wristband procedure can NOT be conducted without one on one contact between the corrections officer and the inmate. Therefore, we (VolusiaExposed.Com) find it extremely difficult to believe that corrections staff was not keenly aware that Inmate Brogan was going through drug withdrawals.

In fairness to the corrections officers - they may have reported Brogan's illness to jail medical staff, and the medical staff failed to act - but regardless, the jail can NOT seek to cover their liability by using the allegation that Brogan never reported her drug addiction or drug withdraws (Our Opinion).
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Jail Head Count Policy 400.18
Click Here For PDF Copy

In a recent email to Volusia County officials, VolusiaExposed.Com questioned whether jail staff had properly conducted their 2300 hrs head count / wristband check, and if so, why hadn't jail staff detected Brogan's illness. As of the publication date of this article, county officials have not responded to our email.

We also questioned county officials on whether Brogan's cellmate, Jessica Volinsky received a "quid pro quo" settlement of her criminal charges, in exchange for her statement, that jail officials were unaware of Brogan's health emergency. This matter is further discussed later in this article.

Florida Model Jail Standards (FMJS) Failures

Prior to October 1996, all in-custody deaths within Florida's county jails mandated an independent death investigation by the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).

The FDOC's ability to investigation jail deaths, and to oversee Florida's county jails was under the authority of Florida Administrative Code 33-8. Participation in the FAC 33-8 oversight system was mandatory.

However, in October 1996, with heavy lobbying by jail officials and private medical contractors, the Florida legislature repealed FAC 33-8 - replacing it with a peer-based system titled Florida Model Jail Standards.

In short, the FMJS system allowed Florida's county jails to self inspect each other - however, FMJS failed to incorporate a procedure to conduct independent in-custody death investigations. In fact, unlike FAC 33-8, county jails are not even mandated to participate in the FMJS oversight process.

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Jail Report - April Brogan's In-Custody Death
Click For Complete PDF Copy - LARGE FILE

In 2010, the Osceola county jail was subjected to a scandal, that was brought to light by a series of high profile escapes. The Orlando Sentinel ran a May 15, 2010 article that questioned whether the FMJS oversight system was failing to address the problems within the jail.

VolusiaExposed.Com also ran a November 2013 article that further highlights the failures of the FMJS inspection system.

Volusia County's Conflict Of Interest

The repealing of the FAC33-8 jail oversight system was especially concerning regarding in-custody death investigations within the Volusia County jail.

In most Florida counties - the medical examiner's officer is a state office - separate from county government. However, in Volusia County, as per the county's charter - the medical examiner's office is a county office. Further, the medical examier's office and the jail are both supervised by the same departmental director.

Frankly, VolusiaExposed.Com was surprised with the medical examiner's office finding in Brogan's death. The fact that they ruled that Brogan died of opiate withdrawal syndrome does attach liability to the jail. Usually, the ME's office provides as much cover as they can, especially to agencies within their own county department (Our Opinion).

The Volusia County Medical Examiner's office has been the subject of corruption allegations, as outlined in a VolusiaExposed article from September 2013.

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Autopsy Report - April Brogan
Click For PDF Copy

Was The Sheriff Department's
"Investigation" Just A Cover-up?
Did The VCSO Manipulate A Criminal Prosecution To Provide The Jail With Civil Liability Cover?

A review of the VCSO death investigation appears to support the following: (Our Opinion)

Inmate Brogan died on May 1, 2015. On May 4, 2015 the VCSO death investigation was "closed" pending the "toxicology results and the medical examiners final determination of the cause of death." (See page 12 of 17 - VCSO report --->)

On August 17, 2015 (See page 17 - last page of VCSO report) - the VCSO report concludes with the following entry - "On the above date and time, Investigator Campbell received the Medical examiners report stating that April Brogan's cause of death was determined to be Opiate Withdrawl Syndrome. Further, the report advised that she also had Bronchial asthma. The manner of death was concluded as Natural. Case status: CLOSED"
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Sheriff Department Investigation - April Brogan
Click For PDF Copy Of Report

Notice that on May 4, 2015, VCSO Investigator Campbell notes a change in Inmate Jessica Volinsky's status in the investigative process. Volinsky, the cellmate of Inmate Brogan, the very person that discovered that Brogan had died in her cell - is upgraded from (O1 - Other person), to (W1 - Witness 1). (see page 11 of VCSO report) - "For informational purposes, Investigator Campbell is changing Jessica M Volinsky from (O1) on the original report to (W1)

May 5, 2015 to August 16, 2015 Timeline
Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

Apparently PER the VCSO death investigative report - from May 5th to August 16, 2015 - not much was transpiring with Brogan's death investigation, due to the VCSO awaiting the toxicology reports from the medical examiner's office.

However, Inmate Volinsky's criminal case hit the fast track during that very same time frame !. Even though Volinsky had just recently (April 27, 2015) been booked in on three charges of failure to appear - all containing no bond - she was able to secure a release from jail, without having to post a bond on May 7, 2015 - a mere three days after becoming a witness for the county (VCSO) regarding the death of her cellmate.

Apparently, the private attorney she was able to secure just two days (May 6, 2015) after becoming a county witness, was successful in securing her release from jail under a "release on own recognizance" (ROR) status. Her ROR release was very impressive given the fact that regarding these very same charges, the Court in 2014, had to extradite her back from Pennsylvania.

But Volinsky's luck did not end there - because on August 13, 2015, she signed a pretrial intervention deal (PTI) with the State Attorney's office. Bascially, if she can stay out of trouble for the next 18 months - the State Attorney's office will not prosecute her for her crimes.(See documents - right of page -->)

Isn't it interesting that four (4) days after Volinsky signed her PTI agreement, the VCSO, with their task completed - ended their "investigation" into the events surrounding Brogan's in-custody death. We (VolusiaExposed) are left wondering what took the VCSO so long to complete their investigation - since the Medical Examiner completed their autopsy report on July, 28, 2015.

Volinsky better watch her Ps & Qs during the next eighteen (18) months - if she violates the terms of her PTI - the State Attorney can restart the prosecution on her charges. We (VolusiaExposed.Com) would imagine, that by the end of those eighteen (18) month, any depositions that Volinsky would be required to do in connection to any civil suits filed by Brogan's family would surely have been completed.

Well there you have it - our (VolusiaExposed.Com) observations and OPINIONS - please form you own opinions, and advise us of any additional observations that you run across.

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Jessica Volinsky's Pre-Trial Intervention Deal


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