Two years ago Jahi McMath was pronounced dead. Despite overwhelming evidence that Jahi McMath does not meet the criteria established under California law for brain death, the State of California and County of Alameda have refused to acknowledge Jahi’s humanity and continue to deprive her of the civil rights provided to all living persons under the U.S. Constitution and Federal law. Today, the Dolan Law Firm on behalf of Jahi and her mother Nailah Winkfield filed a federal lawsuit for violation of Jahi’s civil rights.
The lawsuit was only filed after exhausting all available avenues to work with the State Department of Vital Statistics, Alameda County Department of Public Health, County Coroner’s Office and County Counsel, to have Jahi McMath’s incomplete, and invalid death certificate (not even signed by an attesting physician) rescinded, and her basic human rights restored.
“My girl is alive,” Winkfield stated. “I want to return to California so she, and I, can live among or family and friends and surround Jahi with the love and support she deserves.”
The suit requests that the Federal Court order restoration of Jahi McMath’s fundamental Constitutional rights and declare that she is not brain dead as per the criteria established under California Law.
The lawsuit also seeks to have the Court deem unconstitutional the brain death statute as it provides no mechanism by which evidence can be presented that the original determination of brain death is no longer valid in the face of significant scientific and medical evidence of brain function like that currently demonstrated by Jahi McMath.
Christopher Dolan, attorney for Jahi McMath and her mother Nailah Winkfield stated, “The fact that the state refuses to recognize the mountain of evidence that Jahi McMath does not meet brain death criteria is the most grave of injustices. In essence, they proclaim that once she is determined to be brain dead they will never revisit, or reconsider, the death sentence no matter what factual evidence is presented. This is like refusing to reconsider a death sentence when evidence is presented demonstrating that the original conviction was erroneous, and the condemned is innocent.”
Jahi McMath Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Documents
Complaint Filed December 23, 2015