Miami Man in Jail for Weed Wins $730K After Losing Kidney

Pascual Diaz-Plasencia was arrested on misdemeanor drug possession charges June 29, 2012, after police caught him with less than 20 grams of marijuana. Diaz-Plasencia had recently undergone a kidney transplant and had to take a set of pills twice daily to ensure his body didn’t reject the organ.

But after cops picked him up for harmless pot possession, he said Miami-Dade County’s Public Health Trust screwed up the order for his anti-rejection meds while he languished in Miami-Dade County Jail. He wound up going without his pills for seven days, lost the kidney, and in 2016 sued the county for negligence.

During the suit, Diaz-Plasencia died due to an unrelated issue. But a county probate court yesterday finally awarded his family a $730,000 settlement, further proving that useless weed arrests ultimately cost taxpayers far more than they help.

Diaz-Plasencia was represented by the Florida Justice Institute (FJI), a Miami-based, nonprofit law firm known across the state for fighting for the rights of prisoners and the indigent. (The FJI recently won a legal fight after catching the Florida Department of Corrections systematically mistreating hepatitis C in prisoners, leading to deaths.) The law firm said the county’s negligence not only cost Diaz-Plasencia a kidney but also trapped him in “years of painful dialysis” and eventually forced him to undergo a second transplant.

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