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Terminally ill inmate denied early jail release

Published Sep. 1, 2005

A judge has denied a request from a drug offender dying of AIDS to be released early from jail to spend his last months with his family.

Jean Felix, 41, was sent to jail until Sept. 5 for violating probation in a drug possession case. But doctors say he will die in anywhere from a few days to two months.

Felix was suffering so much last week that a Broward County Jail official called his lawyer to suggest releasing him to a cousin's care. But Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman denied that request this week.

"It wasn't even my client who asked for it, it was the jail, saying they thought it would be the humane thing to do," said Felix's lawyer, Steven Michaelson.

Medical experts testified at a court hearing Tuesday before Aleman that Felix, of that the Fort Lauderdale, has a short time to live.

Neil McKay, the head of health services at the jail, told the judge that Felix is in danger of dying sooner if he stays there.

Aleman did not return phone calls left Saturday at her office.

Since joining the bench in January 2002, Aleman has been criticized twice by the Fourth District Court of Appeal for decisions in dependency cases in which the appellate court found she was too strict with her rulings.

_ Wire reports