• Lynda Cohen

Lawsuit blames Hudson County jail for Kauffman suicide

A new lawsuit blames the Hudson County jail for Dr. James Kauffman killing himself there in 2018.

Despite knowing his history of suicidal tendencies, the jail staff were negligent in their supervision and then failed to render proper aid when he was found in his cell where he was said to have hanged himself, according to the suit filed Friday.

"Indeed, every reasonable person in the world knew that James Kauffman was an acute and immediate risk of committing suicide," attorney Lou Barbone writes in the suit filed on behalf of the doctor's widow.

Kauffman married Carole Winetraub some time after his wife's May 10, 2012 killing.

April Kauffman, a beloved veterans advocate and radio host, was found fatally shot inside her bedroom in the Linwood home the couple shared.

While her husband was long believed to be a suspect, he was not charged in the killing until Jan. 8, 2018.

At that time, Kauffman was also charged as part of a drug ring he allegedly ran with a head of the Pagan Motorcycle Club, Ferdinand Augello.

Augello was also charged with a plan to kill Kauffman inside the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where the disgraced doctor had been held since June 13, 2017, when he brandished a gun after law enforcement came to search his Egg Harbor Township office.

Kauffman threatened to shoot himself during the confrontation, and was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation after he surrendered.

All of that showed a history of mental issues that required treatment and oversight, which he didn't get once transferred to Hudson County, the suit claims.

Kauffman was moved from Atlantic County to Hudson on Jan. 8, the day before Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced the murder and drug charges against Kauffman and Augello.

During Augello's murder trial in September 2018, star witness claimed he made up the plan to kill Kauffman in an attempt to get Augello to incriminate himself in the drug ring and killing.

Andrew Glick was wearing a wire at the time. In exchange for Glick's cooperation and testimony, first-degree drug and gun charges were dropped against the Egg Harbor Township man.

The lawsuit it says that Kauffman's transfer included "medical and psychiatric records as to his care, treatment and suicidal ideations" from Atlantic County.

Despite that, Kauffman was not given the proper supervision or care inside the Hudson County jail, the suit claims, also alleging failure to render prompt aid.

The suit demands a jury trial, and asks for damages.

Barbone did not immediately return requests seeking comment.

James Kauffman dead in apparent suicide at jail

A Hudson County spokesman confirmed Dr. James Kauffman was found dead of an apparent suicide at about 9:20 Friday morning. Next of kin has been notified, James Kennelly said. Defense attorney Lou Barbone said Kauffman died at the jail, but he could get no additional information at this point. Read more...

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