The citizens panel charged with reviewing deaths inside San Diego County jails or those who died while in Sheriff’s Department custody will consider a plan to summarily dismiss almost two dozen cases due to a long-running backlog.
Volunteer members of the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board will vote this evening on a recommendation from staff to close 22 cases without completing a formal investigation because the deaths occurred so long ago.
The proposed dismissals all involve jail and other deaths that occurred between 2011 and 2016, and could possibly have involved deputy misconduct.
County officials say the backlog confronting the volunteer review board is so long the panel is unlikely to catch up — and deputies involved in the cases deserve to have their names cleared.
In October, the panel had 59 open death investigations on its docket, fatalities that included everything from suspected suicides and officer-involved shootings to inmate homicides and possible restraint. That’s up from 46 in January.
At the beginning of 2016, the review board had 39 open investigations. In January 2015, there were 28 open fatality cases pending.