Judge keeps alive lawsuits over Mitrice Richardson’s death

Mitrice Richardson, 24, went missing after she was released from the Malibu police station on Thursday September 17, 2009.
Mitrice Richardson, 24, went missing after she was released from the Malibu police station on Thursday September 17, 2009. Findmitrice.info

A Los Angeles judge has whittled down lawsuits by the parents of a mentally ill woman whose body was found in Malibu Canyon last summer. The parents are suing the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for releasing their daughter despite her erratic behavior.

Here are the basics of the lawsuits by Mitrice Richardson’s parents: the 24-year-old Cal State Fullerton student was mentally ill – that should have been clear to deputies at the Agoura Hills substation; after they arrested her, they shouldn’t have let her go in the middle of the night with no car, no phone and no money. But they did – and Mitrice vanished.

She’d been missing for almost a year when deputies and park rangers looking for pot farms in Malibu Canyon last August found her body instead.

An L.A. judge has knocked out a claim in the father’s lawsuit that the sheriff misspent taxpayer money by not training deputies to spot mental illness. He knocked out a claim in the mother’s lawsuit that the deputies’ treatment of Mitrice amounted to discrimination against mentally ill people.

But Judge William Fahey kept the claim that deputies should have known that Mitrice was in trouble and needed help. Because he did, the parents’ lawsuits move forward.

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