He said he wasn't suicidal is why

Review board says deputies screened Robert Lubsen adequately

Robert Lubsen
  • Robert Lubsen

A San Diego County law-enforcement review board did not find sufficient evidence that deputies could have prevented the suicide of a 26-year-old man who had been arrested for stealing laptops from dorm rooms at Cal State San Marcos.

Robert Lubsen died on February 7, 2013, from brain trauma when he dove head-first from the second story of a North San Diego County jail.

According to a recent review by the Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board, there was no clear-cut information that deputies could have prevented Lubsen's death — despite the fact that Lubsen tried to hang himself by his shoestrings shortly after his arrest.

During booking at the county jail, as documented in a May 2015 report in the Union-Tribune, despite the presence of red marks around Lubsen's neck and documentation of previous attempts to take his own life, deputies at the time relied on Lubsen's denial of any suicidal ideation.

Lubsen's family sued the county and Cal State San Marcos for wrongful death. In October 2014, the family settled for $120,000 as well as promises that the family could meet with sheriff William Gore in order to try and prevent similar tragedies from occurring. According to the Union-Tribune report, the family soon became frustrated that Gore had brushed off their meeting — the sheriff's department has not responded to the question of whether the meeting did eventually occur.

The decision by the review board was not prompted by a complaint; however, an investigation is required into any inmate death.

According to the findings listed on the board's upcoming March 17 agenda, while placing Lubsen in a temporary safety cell could have prevented his death, the board found that there was not substantial evidence that deputies should have done so. Read the findings, "A medical consult, with particular emphasis on the conflicting information provided by the decedent, could possibly have resulted in the temporary placement of the decedent in a Safety Cell, pending a psychological evaluation, where he would have been closely monitored, assessed within 24 hours, and placed in mainline housing only upon clearance by medical staff. Given, however, the ambiguity of the information provided by the decedent, his self-report of not being suicidal, coupled with the lack of observable indicators during the classification interview of a person with suicidal ideation or psychiatric issues, there was insufficient data to support a safety cell placement, and therefore insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation."

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Forget it, folks. This is the same Bill Gore who said Rebecca Zahau committed suicide even though her hands and feet were tied. The man has no conscience or credibility, and thinks taxpayers matter only as open wallets for settling all the wrongful deaths under his watch.

Agreed wholeheartedly. But he's going to run for another term. And he'll probably win regardless of an opponent. The sickening possibility is that he'll run unopposed. That happened with ol' Bill "Keystone" Kolender, who was likely already suffering dementia when he was re-elected the final time. Makes ya' feel so good about cops, i.e. law enforcement, in the region, doesn't it?

Why was Cal State San Marcos sued? And why did they settle? If Lubsen stole laptops and was arrested for the crime why should CSSM pay anything to the family?

I believe the college was named because that was where he was held after being arrested and was the location where his first attempt at suicide had occurred. Also, my understanding is that the officers who arrested him were campus police officers. Hope that helps.-dH

Whatever happened, he was a beautiful child and his lost life a tragedy for us all. He should have had help; whatever perceptions he had were stretched beyond the breaking point. We should all mourn over a system that works this way for our children.

Child? He was a full on adult at 26. Maybe he should not have committed a crime in the first place.

For those who have never been to the San Diego County Jail here is how it works. You are taken to "intake" where you are quickly processed (about 3 minutes to put on a hospital type wrist band) and then dumped into a "phone tank". You may be there for several hours before you are processed. The processing takes a few minutes during which a "nurse" asks you if you are taking any medications or have any medical issues. You are also asked if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself or suicidal thoughts. No matter the mental state of the prisoner most answer no. There are too many prisoners and few too many guards to pay much attention to an individual prisoner. Unless the arresting officer indicates any special needs at the time of booking nothing will be done. Unless the prisoner can convince the "nurse" (who is about as qualified as a nursing home nurse) that they are going to hurt themselves they will end up in the general jail population.

Alex, to quote you: "Not everyone who is charged with a crime is guilty of that crime." We don't know. Something went wrong; to me it was a tragic loss of a young life.

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