Civil Trial Ordered of Texas Prisons, Leaders in Heat Death

A federal judge has ordered a civil trial of the Texas prison system and its leadership in a civil rights lawsuit arising from the heat-related death of an inmate.

In an 83-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison of Houston criticized the prison system for the 2011 death of Waco-area cab driver Larry Gene McCollum while he was serving a one-year sentence at the Hutchins State Jail near Dallas during the summer of 2011.

The lawsuit filed by his family accuses the prison system and its leaders of willful negligence by refusing to air condition the state's prisons.

Ellison wrote that McCollum's death during a heat wave "was not simply bad luck but an entirely preventable consequence of inadequate policies."

The ruling was sealed Friday and unsealed Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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