SALT LAKE CITY — A judge on Thursday dropped a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge against a Duchesne County Jail nurse charged in the death of a 21-year-old inmate.
Judge Lyle Anderson in Utah's 8th District Court said there was not enough evidence showing Jana Clyde, 50, grossly deviated from the standard of care or that there was a substantial, unjustifiable risk of death at the time. The decision followed a preliminary hearing with testimony from jail staff and others.
Clyde's attorney Brad Schmidt said "the right thing happened today" but it "doesn't take away from the fact that it's an unfortunate situation."
Prosecutors with Uintah County and the Utah Attorney General's Office argued Clyde failed to perceive the risk involved and act after Madison Jensen, 21, was vomiting and had diarrhea for days.
Jensen was booked after acting erratically and talking about suicide, her family has said. She told jail staff she might have heroin withdrawals and took medicine for high blood pressure.
Jensen died Dec. 1, 2016, of dehydration, an autopsy found.
Prosecutors said she had reported she was very sick on a medical form Nov. 29.Comment on this story
Clyde's attorneys argued Clyde had Jensen complete the form to see a physician's assistant set to arrive two days later. They said Jensen did not ask for continued care.
Video of Jensen's cell shown in court showed Clyde gave her Gatorade Nov. 30. Prosecutors said the nurse did not give other care, consult supervisors or call the physicans' assistant, failing to prevent the death.
Madison's father Jared Jensen said outside the hearing that "everything we've seen here is wrong. Nothing that they did was proper" and called for an overhaul of jail standards.
The Utah Attorney General's Office said it was considering options, including an appeal.