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Pretrial detention.

U.S. Appeals Court SUICIDE INTAKE SCREENING

Boncher ex rel. Boncher v. Brown County, 272 F.3d 484 (7th Cir. 2001). The estate of a prisoner who had committed suicide brought a ss 1983 action against jail officials alleging deliberate indifference to the risk of the prisoner's suicide. The district court granted summary judgment for the jail officials and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that evidence was insufficient that jail officials were deliberately indifferent, even though intake officers had little training and relied on a checklist that was deficient in several areas. The court noted that the officers were making a judgment that was not likely to be assisted by special training and that the jail was in compliance with the state's minimum standards for suicide prevention. The prisoner had been arrested after a domestic altercation, and had a long history of alcoholism and had attempted suicide at least three times, but this history was not known to the arresting officers or the personnel of the jail. The prisoner was joking wit h officers during his admission to the jail and the officers thought him to be a "happy drunk" He was placed in a regular cell instead of the jail's suicide-watch cell, and he died within 45 minutes by hanging himself with a bedsheet. The appeals court also held that the evidence offered by an expert witness was "useless" and should have been excluded. The criminologist had testified that the rate of suicide in the jail (five suicides in the preceding five years) was unusually high. (Brown County Jail, Wisconsin)

U.S. District Court

CONDITIONS

Chilcote v. Mitchell 166 F.Supp.2d 1313 (D.Or. 2001). A former prisoner and detainees at a federal detention center sued officials alleging they were subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the officials, finding no Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations from the size of the cell. The court noted that all three occupants of the cell could not be off of their bunks at the same time because the cell was so small, and the occupants were confined in the cell for 20 to 21 hours daily. The court found that the crowding was necessitated by the volume of incoming detainees and the lockdown was needed because of the danger posed by detainees had not yet been evaluated. The cells had been designed to house two inmates and ranged in size from 80.7 to 96 square feet. In a triple-bunk cell, 40 to 45 square feet of floor space is covered by the bunks, sink and toilet. The remaining floor space, 35 to 40 square feet "effectively does not permit all three occupants to be off their bunks at the same time." There are no lockers, chairs or tables in the cells. (Federal Detention Center, Sheridan, Oregon)

U.S. Appeals Court

HANDICAP ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act

Chisolm v. McManimon, 275 F.3d 315 (3rd Cir. 2001). A hearing-impaired detainee brought; a suit against the warden of a pretrial detainment facility and county court system, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, ss 1983 and a state discrimination law, for failing to provide an interpreter and other services. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the detainee appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the county court system was not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity during an ongoing merger with the state court system. The appeals court held that summary judgment was precluded by genuine issues of material fact as to: (1) the effectiveness of alternate aids or services provided to the detainee when the jail failed to provide a sign language interpreter during the intake process, activate closed captioning capabilities on a prison television, (2) provide a text device for transcribing telephone calls; and whe ther pencil and paper were effective auxiliary aids in place of a sign language interpreter; and (3) whether exceptions to institutional rules on telephone calls were an effective alternative to providing special telephones. The court held that extradition was a "program" within the meaning of ADA and the Rehabilitation Act such that the court was required to ensure the ability of the detainee to participate in the hearing. When the detainee arrived at the detention facility on a Saturday, he was locked down in his cell to keep him apart from the general population until Monday when facility classification staff arrived. This practice was applied to all detainees admitted when classification staff members were not working at the facility. Such unclassified detainees consumed meals in their cells and did not have television or telephone privileges. When the detainee was not provided with an interpreter at intake he became upset and was eventually interviewed by a nurse, who concluded that he was a suicide risk . He was kept in solitary lockup from Saturday until Tuesday. On Monday he was taken to meet with a classification staff member, where he was interviewed and was given a medium security classification. But the staff member had described the detainee as a "vagrant" in spite of the fact that he had worked for the U. S. Postal Service for 13 years and had lived at the same address for three years. This error added two points to his classification score, moving him from "minimum" security to "medium." (Mercer County Detention Center, New Jersey)

U.S. District Court

USE OF FORCE

Craw v. Gray 159 F.Supp.2d 679 (N.D.Ohio 2001). An arrestee sued law enforcement officers under (sections) 1983 asserting claims for use of excessive force. The district court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the officers, finding that the allegations did not support a claim for inadequate training of an officer and that past "use of force" incident reports did not support the claim for inadequate supervision of the officer. According to the court, the assertion that a particular officer may be unsatisfactorily trained does not alone "suffice to fasten ?? 1983 liability" on a municipality for failure to train. The court noted that none of the reports showed that the deputy acted improperly. The officer had brought the arrestee to a county jail and during the booking process an altercation between the arrestee and the officer resulted in a right hip fracture and dislocation for the arrestee. (Mercer County Jail, Ohio)

U.S. District Court

CONDITIONS SANITATION

Curry v. Kerik 163 F.Supp.2d 232 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). A pretrial detainee brought a (sections) 1983 action against corrections officials alleging violation of the due process clause arising out of dangerous conditions. The court held that the detainee stated a due process violation by alleging that he was exposed to an unsanitary and hazardous showering area for over nine months. The court found that the detainee's allegation that officials negligently appointed, trained and supervised employees and failed to enforce rules requiring facility inspections and addressing repair complaints were sufficient to show the personal involvement of the officials. The detainee alleged that he had alerted the officials to dangerous conditions on several occasions, and the conditions led to his injury when he fell in a shower, which stated a claim of deliberate indifference according to the court. The inmate alleged that the shower facility in his unit leaked, tiles were falling off the wall, and there were no shower curtains or floor mats. (North Infirmary Command, Correctional Facility, New York City Department of Correctional Services)

U.S. District Court

USE OF FORCE

Davis v. Hill, 173 F.Supp.2d 1136 (D.Kan. 2001). An arrestee brought a (sections) 1983 action against a county, sheriff, and employees alleging that he was the victim of excessive force while detained. The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion in part, and denied it in part. The court held that fact issues as to whether sheriff's deputies beat the arrestee senseless in his cell precluded summary judgment on the detainee's Fourth Amendment excessive force claim. The court also found that the arrestee could maintain a suit against deputies who were near the cell at the time, despite his inability to identify the two who allegedly administered the beating. The arrestee was allegedly handcuffed in his cell during a staff shift change. The arrestee was yelling and kicking his cell door and alleged that an officer entered the cell and hit him behind his ear, knocking him into the steel bed and against a steel wall, and then ground his thumb behind the arrestee's ear. Accor ding to the arrestee, another officer entered and the two "proceeded attacking and torturing me on every joint in my body..." (Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility, Kansas)

U.S. District Court

SEARCHES

Doan v. Watson 168 F.Supp.2d 932 (S.D.Ind. 2001). Former inmates filed a ss 1983 suit against a former and current sheriff, individually and in their official capacities, alleging unconstitutional strip search policies. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the former inmates, finding that the jail policy of stripping inmates and requiring them to undergo a delousing procedure was an unreasonable search. According to the court, the policy authorized a blanket strip search without justification. The court noted that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) did not require the former inmates to produce evidence of physical injury to pursue their claims. The inmates had been arrested for misdemeanor offenses and were subjected to intake searches before entering the general jail population. (Floyd County Jail, Indiana)

U.S. District Court

SUICIDE

Ellis ex rel. Lanthorn v. Jamerson, 174 F.Supp.2d 747 (E.D.Tenn. 2001). The mother and the minor child of a pretrial detainee who committed suicide in jail brought a ss 1983 action against county jail officials. The district court dismissed the case, finding that the county jailor who was on duty at the time of the detainee's suicide was entitled to qualified immunity. The plaintiffs attempted to introduce evidence that the jailor was watching video surveillance monitors and saw the detainee fashion a noose and place it around his neck but did not summon help immediately. The court refused to allow a statement made by the county sheriff to the media to be used as evidence, even though it might support the assertion that jail staff did not act expediently to prevent the detainee's death. (Washington County Jail, Tennessee)

U.S. District Court

FAILURE TO PROVIDE CARE SUICIDE

Holland v. City of Atmore 168 F.Supp.2d 1303 (S.D.Ala. 2001). Survivors of an inmate who committed suicide during his period of pretrial confinement filed a ss 1983 action. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court held that jail staff did not have a duty to take any precautions to prevent his suicide, where the inmate had not shown a strong likelihood of taking his life. The inmate had been admitted to the city jail after being arrested for driving under the influence and other offenses. He was booked into the facility and locked down. Within thirty minutes he was found dead or dying in his cell, having used his shoelaces to hang himself. The plaintiffs had argued that the inmate had previously attempted to take his own life and that city police knew about these attempts. (Atmore City Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court

SEARCHES

Lee v. Perez, 175 F.Supp.2d 673 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). An arrestee brought an action against a correctional officer, alleging he had been unconstitutionally strip searched. The district court entered a jury verdict in favor of the officer and the arrestee moved for reconsideration. The district court granted the motion, finding that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's conclusion that the officer relied on permissible factors in making his decision to perform a body cavity search on the arrestee. According to the court, the officer testified that he had not considered the nature of the two misdemeanors with which the arrestee had been charged and could not identify any characteristic of the arrestee that led to his conclusion that the arrestee might have been carrying contraband. The arrestee had spent the night in a police holding cell and was arraigned in court the next morning. Bail was set at $250 but the arrestee was not allowed to post bail at the police station using money that had been in h is possession at the time of his arrest. He was transported to the local jail where he was processed in. The intake process included a "personal hygiene check/visual body search" which consisted of having the arrestee remove his clothes, followed by a visual inspection of his body. The officer contended that this hygiene check was not the same as a strip search because it did not require the inmate to open his mouth or bend over and spread his buttocks. (Orange County Correctional Facility, New York)

U.S. Appeals Court

CONDITIONS PROTECTION CROWDING SAFETY

Marsh v. Butler County, Ala.. 268 F.3d 1014 (11th Cir. 2001). Former county jail inmates brought a ss 1983 action against a county and sheriff to recover for injuries they sustained when they were beaten by other prisoners. The district court dismissed the action and the inmates appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case. The appeals court held that allegations that the county failed to maintain the jail constituted deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to the inmates, sufficient to survive the defendants' motion to dismiss. The court found that the sheriff did not have a qualified immunity defense available to her because preexisting case law established at the time that the conditions of confinement alleged by the plaintiffs did pose a risk of harm to the inmates. The court held that allegations that the county received many reports of the jail's deteriorated conditions but took no remedial measures were sufficient to allege deliberate indif ference to the substantial risk of serious harm faced by inmates in the jail. According to the court, allegations that jail conditions such as a lack of locks on cell doors resulted in the plaintiffs being assaulted by their fellow prisoners, stated a claim for an Eighth Amendment violation. The court found that the inmates also stated Eighth Amendment violations by alleging that there was no segregation of nonviolent inmates from violent inmates, pretrial detainees from convicted criminals, juveniles from adults, and inmates with mental disorders from those without. Claims were also stated by allegations that the jail was sometimes overcrowded and understaffed, that inmates could make weapons from materials torn from the jail's dilapidated structure, that cells were not visually inspected, that no lock down of prisoners in their cells occurred, and that inmates were not disciplined when they attempted to escape, threatened jailers, destroyed property, or assaulted other inmates. (Butler County Jail, Alabama)

U.S. District Court SEARCHES

McGregor v. City of Olathe, KS, 158 F.Supp.2d 1225 (D.Kan. 2001). An arrestee brought a pro so action against a city and city police officers challenging the removal of her keys from her pantyhose as an illegal search. The arrestee was arrested and transported to a police station where she was taken into a room to be searched. A female officer told the arrestee that they were looking for some keys and the arrestee responded that the keys were in her pantyhose because she did not want to be searched. The officer removed the keys from the arrestee's pantyhose. The district court held that the search was not illegal. (Olathe Police Department, Kansas)

U.S. District Court USE OF FORCE

Morris v. Crawford County, Ark., 173 F.Supp.2d 870 (W.D.Ark. 2001). A detainee in a county jail brought a [section] 1983 action and state law battery claims against the county, sheriff and deputies. The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion in part and denied it in part. The court held that genuine issues of material fact existed as to the type of force used by a deputy against the detainee, and whether the detainee sustained injuries, precluding summary judgment. The court also found that the deputy was not entitled to qualified immunity for his alleged use of force on the detainee, who was allegedly not resisting. There was evidence that the deputy used a "knee drop" on the detainee, thereby severing his intestine. (Crawford County Detention Center, Arkansas)

U.S. District Court SUICIDE

Naumoff v. Old. 167 F.Supp.2d 1250 (D.Kan. 2001). A mother whose son had committed suicide while confined in a jail brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff. The sheriff' moved for summary judgment and the court granted the motion, finding that the mother failed to allege an injury to her own constitutional rights. The court held that the mother lacked standing to bring the [section] 1983 action because she brought the action in her individual capacity rather than as representative of her son's estate. The mother did not make a claim for deprivation of familial association or otherwise allege injury to her own constitutional rights. (Wabaunsee County Jail, Kansas)

U.S. District Court USE OF FORCE

Pittman v. Kurtz, 165 F.Supp.2d 1243 (D.Kan. 2001). An inmate brought an action against jail officials and a county jail alleging that he was physically assaulted by staff while he was incarcerated at the jail, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that the force applied by jail officials to restrain the inmate did not violate his rights. The inmate had refused to go to his cell after multiple orders to do so, and struck at one official with a pencil, hitting him in the neck and shoulder area between six and ten times. The altercation lasted only a few seconds and the inmate's injuries were minor. (Sedgwick County Jail, Kansas)

U.S. District Court SEARCHES

Roberts v. Rhode Island. 175 F.Supp.2d 176 (D.R.I. 2000). A detainee brought an action against corrections officials challenging the constitutionality of policies that require all males committed to the state prison to be subjected to a strip search and visual body cavity search. The district court held that the policies were constitutionally deficient as applied to the detainee, who was searched while detained pursuant to an outstanding body attachment issued by a state family court. The court noted that the policies contained no language concerning what factors might give rise to reasonable suspicion that would permit a constitutional search, and that the policies were universally applied to all pre-arraignment detainees without any prior determination that there is a reasonable suspicion that the detainee may be carrying weapons or contraband. The detainee was searched upon initial admission to the facility and was searched again before being transported to court for arraignment. (Intake Services Center at the Adult Correctional Institution, Rhode Island)

U.S. Appeals Court

SEARCHES

Shain v. Ellison, 273 F.3d 56 (2nd Cir. 2001). A misdemeanor detainee in a local correctional facility sued a county and various individuals, challenging the policy of requiring strip searches of all detainees regardless of the nature of the crime for which they were detained. The district court granted summary judgment for the detainee and awarded $1 in nominal damages. The appeals court affirmed in part and remanded in part. The appeals court held that the county's strip search policy violated the Fourth Amendment and its illegality was clearly established in 1995, but the detainee was not entitled to a new trial on the question of damages. The court noted that the searching officer did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct the search of the detainee, and that even if other officers had information that may have justified the search, the information was not relayed to the searching officer. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York)

U.S. District Court

MEDICAL CARE

Spencer v. Sheahan, 158 F.Supp.2d 837 (N.D.Ill. 2001). A former pretrial detainee brought a [ss] 1983 action alleging deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. The district court denied summary judgment for the defendants. The detainee was a known diabetic who suffered from a cut between two toes on his right foot and subsequently developed an infection that resulted in two amputations and stump revision surgery. The court noted that there was a seven-day delay between the time that a physician observed "positive skin changes" on the detainee's foot and the time of diagnosis and treatment. (Cook County Jail, Illinois)

U.S. Appeals Court

PROTECTION

Watkins v. City of Battle Creek, 273 F.3d 682 (6th Cir. 2001). The personal representative of the estate of a prisoner who died in jail custody, after denying that he had ingested cocaine and refusing medical treatment, brought a federal civil rights suit against a city, county and various officials and employees. The district court entered summary judgment for the defendants and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the arresting officers and jail personnel were not deliberately indifferent to the detainee's rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that the detainee was not punished in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The court found that the city and county could not beheld liable for failure to train, in the absence of a constitutional violation by individual defendants. According to the court, jail personnel were not deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of the detainee even though he exhibited some behavioral symptoms at the time of intake, where the personnel asked the detainee whether he had swallowed drugs, stated that they would get him medical help if he had and that he would not face additional charges, and generally kept him under observation even though one officer failed to do so. The court noted that detainee repeatedly denied ingesting drug s, refused medical treatment, and offered an alternative explanation for his symptoms. (Battle Creek Police Department and Calhoun County Jail, Michigan)

MEDICAL CARE
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Publication:Corrections Caselaw Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
Words:3700
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