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Assault by Napa State patient at Napa jail triggers lawsuit

Napa Valley Register
January 09, 2015

A former jail inmate has sued Napa County and others, alleging his civil rights were violated when a Napa State Hospital patient assaulted him with a pen and bit him while both were in custody.

Daniel Wynn was allegedly assaulted Dec. 3, 2013, while he sat in belly chains and handcuffed in the glass holding cell in Department E at the Criminal Courthouse on Third Street, according to court records.

On that day, Wynn was ushered first into the holding area, then a sheriff’s deputy brought Jason Soletti, who has been in and out of prison since 1995 for various violent felonies. Soletti was in court to be sentenced to 20 years in state prison under a plea agreement in connection with the assault of another patient at Napa State Hospital in July 2013, according to court records.

Wynn was expecting to be released that day after agreeing to sign a plea agreement for grand theft and embezzlement.

A Napa County Sheriff’s deputy released one of Soletti’s hands so he could hold a pen to fill out paperwork his attorney had handed him, according to the lawsuit filed Dec. 22 in Napa County Superior Court. Soletti turned toward Wynn, insulted him, then stabbing him 16 times with the pen and bit him multiple times before deputies could separate the two men, according to court papers.

Wynn, who is from Napa, was transported to Queen of the Valley Medical Center with cuts to his chin, nose, forehead and neck, and stab wounds to his abdomen, according to the civil complaint and court records. His current condition is unknown.

Wynn, 43, alleges the two deputies who were with the inmates did not follow proper procedures, given that Soletti was so dangerous, according to his lawsuit. At least three deputies should have been with Soletti, and Soletti also should have been seated alone, the complaint stated.

Wynn had pleaded no contest to embezzlement and grand theft in connection with the theft of more than $96,235 from the rental truck company he represented, Penske Leasing Co., and two commercial customers, according to court records.

“Just hours before his release from jail, our client suffered extensive injuries to his face, neck and abdomen because of the Sheriff’s Department’s failure to follow its own policies and procedures,” his attorney Brian Kabateck of Kabateck LLP of Los Angeles said in an email.

“This lawsuit is about accountability and ensuring the civil rights of prisoners are not violated by government entities.” Kabateck said.

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