OC DA Clears Sheriff's Department in After-Jail Overdose Death of Jeremy Lavia

While the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office is mired in prosecutorial controversies, its jail death report machine keep a-churnin'. Luckily for them, nothing seems too fishy in the latest investigative letter published this week.

The agency cleared the OC Sheriff's Department (OCSD) of any wrongdoing in last year's death of 35-year-old Jeremy Jason Lavia.


As the report reads, Lavia got arrested for an outstanding warrant on April 30, 2014. A couple months later, he got in a fight with a fellow Theo Lacy inmate named “Weasel” and complained about injuring his left hand.

Medical staff attended to him the very next day. Ten days after the fight, a doctor at Western Medical Center in Anaheim said Lavia fractured his thumb.

On September 15, the OCSD released Lavia from custody. He called a woman the report called Jane Doe that picked him up at a Norm's in SanTana before taking him to her home in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Lavia got booted around RSM until returning back to the woman's home four days later. He looked distraught and took a prescribed anti-depressant only to complain about blurry vision and a bellyache.

Jane Doe thought her friend fell asleep on the couch that night while watching television. The next morning, she found Lavia unresponsive and called paramedics, who pronounced him dead after 15 minutes of trying to resuscitate him. An autopsy later found that Lavia died of a drug overdose with meth, morphine and codeine among the lethal mix.

“Lavia's only health concern was related to his hand,” the OCDA says of his time in jail. “He died of mixed drug intoxication 35 days after his release.”

But wait: If OCSD released Lavia on September 15 and he died on September 20, how does that add up to 35 days? Sloppy…

As always, read the report in its entirety online.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2

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