In what appears to be a first in California, the Attorney General has filed second-degree murder charges against several employees of a drug and alcohol treatment center after a patient died on their watch.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a new inmate at a Murrieta rehab center died the night he arrived at the center. The inmate had serious medical problems when he arrived. But the negligence of center employees, including the administration of prescription drugs without a prescription, may have contributed to his death.
Still, murder charges in this situation seem more than a little bit extreme--particularly when prosecutors could have simply filed charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Operators of drug and alcohol treatment facilities already need to worry about charges of elder (or dependent adult) abuse. Adding the possibility of murder charges to the mix will probably only make potential operators more reluctant to open such facilities--at a time when there is a great need for them in California.