Mother of man who died in Saguache County Jail files federal lawsuit

SAGUACHE COUNTY — The mother of a man who died Nov. 16, 2019, while in the Saguache County Jail has filed a federal lawsuit alleging negligence, according to published reports.

The lawsuit alleges they failed to supervise 27-year-old Jackson Maes, did not let him talk to a mental health professional, or have him transported to a health care facility. It was filed against the Saguache County Commissioners, sheriff's office, and individuals in the sheriff's office by his mother, Sarah Lieberenz of Denver.

According to reports, Saguache County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a local establishment to check on a man, Maes, who was intoxicated. The responding deputy learned Maes had an outstanding warrant — $250 cash bond — for failure to appear on a traffic ticket and was arrested.

Lieberenz claims she could have easily paid the bond.

According to the lawsuit, the booking details state Maes was not suicidal or violent. Witnesses reported some people heard him express the opposite to the arresting deputy.

In jail, Maes reportedly banged his head on the wall of his cell. A deputy told him to him to lay down and get some rest. The lawsuit contends Maes told the deputy he was trying to kill himself.

The lawsuit includes an interview with investigators. Shelby Shields, who works in the jail’s booking area, said they called mental health, but no one answered, and no message was left.

Lawyers for Lieberenz stated video from the jail cell shows Maes reaching for a shower curtain, while deputies were in the booking area, and later wrapped it around his neck.

Shields said both Deputy Elke Wells and then-Deputy Miguel Macias "feared that (Jackson) was suicidal, but nothing was ever done about it."

According to reports, Maes was not discovered for more than eight hours.

Lawyers reportedly contend the Saguache County Jail has been plagued by staffing and training issues.

The lawsuit states that Macias wrote in a log that he did a jail cell check, but actually didn't, and was later terminated.

The Saguache County Commissioners stated they do not comment on pending litigation.