85°F
weather icon Clear

Woman files federal lawsuit over daughter’s lengthy jail stay

The mother and legal guardian of a Pahrump woman claims Nye County officials kept her daughter in jail for more than a year while ignoring court orders to send her to a state psychiatric facility.

According to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against Nye County and Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, 28-year-old Caryssa Lennox was arrested in February 2014 and charged with unlawful use of an emergency phone number and destruction of property.

Lennox was evaluated in April of that year at the Nye County Detention Center by two psychologists who found she was incompetent to stand trial and recommended she be taken to Lake’s Crossing Center in Sparks for treatment.

In June 2014, a Nye County district judge ordered the sheriff’s office to transport the woman to Lake’s Crossing, a maximum-security psychiatric facility. Two months later, the Nye County district attorney and Lennox’s lawyers reached an agreement that allowed her to be sent to Seven Hills Hospital, a behavioral health treatment center in Henderson.

She wasn’t taken to either facility, according to the lawsuit, which alleges the woman’s due process rights were violated.

Instead, Lennox sat in jail until October 2014, when again, a district judge ordered that she be committed to Lake’s Crossing for a 120-day competency examination.

Three months after the October order, the same psychologists evaluated Lennox again, both reaching the same conclusion: She was not able to stand trial and should be taken to Lake’s Crossing.

Usually an inmate is evaluated by two doctors and then taken to Lake’s Crossing if the doctors agree he or she is unfit to stand trial, said Greg Cortese, the lead attorney in the lawsuit against Nye County.

“Why didn’t they send her, and why did they evaluate her a second time?” Cortese asked Wednesday.

In February 2015, for the third time in a year, the court ordered the sheriff’s office to transport Lennox to Lake’s Crossing. About two months later, the charges against Lennox were dropped, and the court ordered the sheriff’s office to send her to Seven Hills Hospital.

She was transferred to the private Henderson center six days after the charges were dismissed, the lawsuit said.

“Caryssa Lennox was in custody at Nye County Detention Center from February 27, 2014 through March 31, 2015 without having ever been transported to Lake’s Crossing Mental Health Center and without ever standing trial for her alleged crime,” Lennox’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

Neither Nye County District Attorney Angela Bello nor Wehrly could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Wehrly took over the office of sheriff in January 2015. The prior sheriff is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@reviewjournal.com. Find @lauxkimber on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nevadans heading to Kentucky to help with flooding relief

Two Southern Nevada Red Cross volunteers, a Pahrump resident and a Las Vegas resident, have deployed to Eastern Kentucky to help with disaster relief efforts from the massive flooding in the area.

California woman dies from shot to the dead

A California woman died Monday after being treated for a gunshot wound at Desert Valley View Hospital in Pahrump, according to reports from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office in California.

 
COVID-19 downturn stretches to a month

Both hospitalizations and cases continue to decline.

Sportsman’s Quest: Going to places less hunted

The hunting season has begun with the Pronghorn Antelope opening the first of August. All of the well-known areas are full of hunters making opening day on the prairie looking like a pumpkin patch, due to the many hunters and their blaze orange hats.

1 person hospitalized following structure fire

One person was transported to Desert View Hospital following a structure fire on Saturday, July 30.

Purple Heart Day ceremony to honor injured and fallen heroes

National Purple Heart Day, marked on Aug. 7 each year, presents the country with an opportunity to honor those who enlisted in the U.S. armed forces and bravely took up the mantle of defenders of freedom, only to suffer an injury or worse, lose their lives in the line of duty.