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PRISON WANTS TO FORCE-FEED STARVING INMATE.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro and Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writers

LANCASTER - State prison officials went to court Friday seeking permission to force-feed a Lancaster prison inmate they say is starving himself to death.

Fifty-eight-year-old Gerald Miller, who is 6 feet tall and has dropped in weight from 237 pounds to 127 pounds, has a state prison record dating back to 1986 and is serving a 25-year sentence for marijuana trafficking, court officials and prison records said.

``CDC has a responsibility to take care of inmates under our control,'' said California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

Antelope Valley Superior Court Judge Frank Jackson at the hearing Friday gave state prison officials temporary permission to feed Miller through a tube, draw blood and perform other necessary medical procedures.

On Wednesday, however, prison officials must return to court for a full hearing on whether the force-feeding should be allowed to continue. Miller, whose prison sentences were all from Orange County, was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital.

Deputy Public Defender Fred Gagliardini, who was appointed to represent Miller, said Miller on Oct. 26 signed a form requesting to forgo resuscitative measures.

``One of the main things that the judge focused on today, one of the things that concerned him is that Miller had signed (the form) in the presence of a registered nurse after having had resuscitative measures, the risk and benefits, and the refusing of such measures explained to him by (a doctor),'' Gagliardini said.

``My argument was, if he was competent then, which was not even a month ago, to have these things discussed, and to have refused them, what's the difference now? Why shouldn't we recognize and honor his request?'' Gagliardini said.

Gagliardini said he did not know why Miller was refusing to eat. Thornton said confidentiality laws prevent her from discussing Miller's case or even to confirm whether he is refusing to eat.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 13, 2004
Words:313
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