Briefs: Trial set in suit challenging health care in Arizona prisons
KINGMAN – A Nov. 1 trial has been scheduled in a lawsuit challenging the quality of health care in state-run prisons in Arizona.
Two weeks ago, a judge threw out a 6-year-old legal settlement requiring Arizona to improve health care for thousands of prisoners.
She cited the state’s noncompliance with the settlement and said corrections officials have shown little interest in following through on their obligations under the deal.
Judges have hit Arizona with a total of $2.5 million in past contempt of court fines for noncompliance in the case.
The lawsuit alleges the state’s prisons didn’t meet the basic requirements for providing adequate medical and mental health care for prisoners.
The state has denied allegations that it was providing inadequate care.
GOP, Democratic parties grow, but independents grow most
PHOENIX - Arizona’s Democratic and Republican parties grew in the second quarter of the year, but the share of independent voters grew even faster.
Figures released Thursday by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs show a net gain of just over 20,000 registered voters for just over 4.32 million in total.
Democrats added 539 voters while Republicans picked up 3,093. The Libertarian Party lost 584. Those declining to join a recognized political party rose by just over 28,000.
That’s a contrast with the first quarter, when both major parties shrank. The Democratic Party shed 6,400 between January and March while the GOP posted a net loss of nearly 23,000.
Arizona’s electorate is split roughly evenly between Republicans, Democrats and independents, with the GOP the largest group followed by independents then Democrats.
Arizona man in fatal road rage shooting won’t be charged
TUCSON - The Pima County attorney’s office has declined to charge a man involved in a fatal shooting stemming from a road rage incident five months ago.
Prosecutors said David Rivera, 31, will not be charged because the incident falls under self-defense statutes. The prosecutors are legally and ethically not able to seek charges where self-defense is claimed, and if facts support the claim.
Rivera was facing a manslaughter charge after the March 4 shooting, Tucson police said.
Rivera told police that he feared for his life and fired at a person holding a silver handgun in the other vehicle and pointing it at him.
Police said Rudolph Vega, 27, was in the other vehicle involved and was struck by gunfire. He died in a hospital the following day.
Vega’s family said they are upset with the county attorney office’s decision and will continue to seek justice for him.
EMT wounded by gunman in Arizona shooting rampage dies
TUCSON - A 20-year-old Tucson emergency medical technician who was critically wounded by a gunman in a shooting rampage last week has died, his employer said Friday.
The death of Jacob Dindinger was announced by American Medical Response in a brief statement. “Our thoughts are with Jacob and his family as we honor his life and his service,” the company said.
Police said several other people were wounded or grazed by gunfire during a string of related incidents on July 18. They included a neighbor who was fatally shot while trying to douse a house fire and the gunman’s girlfriend, who was found dead inside the house after the fire.
Dindinger had been hospitalized in extremely critically condition since being being shot by the gunman while sitting in an ambulance with a co-worker.
He died of his injuries Thursday night, according to a statement from Gov. Doug Ducey. The governor ordered that flags at all state buildings fly at half-staff Saturday in Dindinger’s honor.
The gunman, identified by police as Leslie Stephen Scarlett, 35, died July 21 after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire that ended the rampage.
A paramedic who was a co-worker of Dindinger and a firefighter also were wounded, and a second neighbor was grazed by a bullet.
A motive for the attack remained unclear, police have said.