Case: Edwards v. Red Hills Community Probation

1:15-cv-00067 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia

Filed Date: April 10, 2015

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 10, 2015, five indigent probationers brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against Red Hills Community Probation, its employees, and city police officers. Red Hills is a private probation company that contracts with local Georgia governments to supervise probation cases in municipal courts. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, sought declaratory and injunct…

On April 10, 2015, five indigent probationers brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against Red Hills Community Probation, its employees, and city police officers. Red Hills is a private probation company that contracts with local Georgia governments to supervise probation cases in municipal courts.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, class certification, and damages, claiming that the defendants operate an unconstitutional and fraudulent probation system. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had a longstanding practice of detaining indigent probationers to coerce immediate payment of city court fines and probation supervision fees. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that Red Hills falsely represented to former probationers that they were required to continue to report to Red Hills personnel and continue to pay fines and fees even after the probationers' sentences were complete.

On September 17, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for consent order, indicating they had reached an agreement with the defendants resolving all of their claims. On February 1, 2016, Judge Leslie J. Abrams issued the consent order. According to the consent order, the defendants were to ensure that (1) probation officers would not attempt to arrest probationers for failure to pay fines or fees without a good-faith and objective belief that the probationer had the ability to pay; (2) probation officers were to instruct probationer to request that his or her friends or family pay the probationer’s fines or fees; and (3) probation officers, the Court, and all City employees follow all laws regarding the treatment of probationers. The consent order also mandated training for the probation officers and that all probationers be advised of their rights. The consent order was to remain in place for four years.

On March 1, 2016, the parties filed stipulation of dismissal. The case is now closed, though the court retained jurisdiction to enforce the consent order. As of April, 2020, there has been no further action in the docket.

Summary Authors

Robert Lake (6/16/2015)

Virginia Weeks (2/18/2018)

People


Judge(s)

Gardner, Leslie Abrams (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Primerano, Ryan (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hyde, W. Brent (Georgia)

Rollins, Raleigh W. (Georgia)

Smith, J. Holder Jr. (Georgia)

Spurlin, John C. (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Gardner, Leslie Abrams (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)

Primerano, Ryan (Georgia)

Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hyde, W. Brent (Georgia)

Rollins, Raleigh W. (Georgia)

Smith, J. Holder Jr. (Georgia)

Spurlin, John C. (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

March 1, 2016 Docket
1

Complaint

April 10, 2015 Complaint
31

Consent Order

Feb. 1, 2016 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Edwards et al. v. Red Hills Community Probation, LLC

Fines & Fees Justice Center

Red Hills Community Probation, LLC contracted with local governments to supervise probation. Defendants unable to pay their court fines and fees were placed on probation. At the courthouse, probation… April 10, 2015 https://finesandfeesjusticecenter.org/...

Parole News Blog links to Clearinghouse

Parole News

Link to Clearinghouse: "Profile of the Graziano v. Pataki federal case, produced by the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse" Aug. 7, 2016 http://parolenews.blogspot.com/...

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants; Filing Fee $ 400, Receipt Number 2055337, filed by VERA CHEEKS, ULYSSES WEST, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, FRED BARBER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
2

Summons Issued as to MARGARET CRUTCHFIELD on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
3

Summons Issued as to MARTIELE PICKLE on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
5

Summons Issued as to NEALIE MCCORMICK on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
6

Summons Issued as to ERIC MILLER on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
7

Summons Issued as to CITY OF BAINBRIDGE on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
8

Summons Issued as to CITY OF PELHAM on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
9

Summons Issued as to RED HILLS COMMUNITY PROBATION LLC on 4/10/2015. (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
10

Consent Form (28 USC 636(c)(1)) sent to FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST (wks) (Entered: 04/10/2015)

April 10, 2015
11

STIPULATION Extending Time to File Responsive Pleadings re 3 Summons Issued by MARTIELE PICKLE (SPURLIN, JOHN) (Entered: 04/30/2015)

April 30, 2015
12

ANSWER to 1 Complaint with Jury Demand by MARGARET CRUTCHFIELD, MARTIELE PICKLE, RED HILLS COMMUNITY PROBATION LLC, JODI SIMPSON.(SMITH, J)Attorney J HOLDER SMITH, JR added to party MARGARET CRUTCHFIELD(pty:dft), Attorney J HOLDER SMITH, JR added to party MARTIELE PICKLE(pty:dft), Attorney J HOLDER SMITH, JR added to party RED HILLS COMMUNITY PROBATION LLC(pty:dft), Attorney J HOLDER SMITH, JR added to party JODI SIMPSON(pty:dft) (Entered: 05/07/2015)

May 7, 2015
13

DEMAND for Trial by Jury by MARGARET CRUTCHFIELD, MARTIELE PICKLE, RED HILLS COMMUNITY PROBATION LLC, JODI SIMPSON (SMITH, J) (Entered: 05/07/2015)

May 7, 2015
14

Corporate Disclosure Statement by MARGARET CRUTCHFIELD, MARTIELE PICKLE, RED HILLS COMMUNITY PROBATION LLC, JODI SIMPSON (SMITH, J) (Entered: 05/07/2015)

May 7, 2015
15

RULES 16/26 ORDER : Scheduling Conference set for 7/22/2015 at 11:00 AM in Albany before U.S. District Judge LESLIE J ABRAMS. Proposed Scheduling/Discovery order due by 7/6/2015. Corporate Disclosures due by 6/4/2015. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 05/21/2015. (mtc) Modified on 5/22/2015 (wks). (Entered: 05/21/2015)

May 21, 2015

NOTICE that the SCHEDULING CONFERENCE set for 7/22/15 and ALL deadlines contained in the Rules 16&26 Order (Doc. 15) are continued until further order of the Court − re 15 Order − Rules 16/26. (wks) (Entered: 05/22/2015)

May 22, 2015
16

ANSWER to 1 Complaint by CITY OF PELHAM, JOHN DOES 1−3, NEALIE MCCORMICK.(HYDE, W)Attorney W BRENT HYDE added to party CITY OF PELHAM(pty:dft), Attorney W BRENT HYDE added to party JOHN DOES 1−3(pty:dft), Attorney W BRENT HYDE added to party NEALIE MCCORMICK(pty:dft) (Entered: 06/19/2015)

June 19, 2015
17

DEMAND for Trial by Jury by CITY OF PELHAM, JOHN DOES 1−3, NEALIE MCCORMICK (HYDE, W) (Entered: 06/22/2015)

June 22, 2015

Notice of Deficiency; Document does not have to be refiled. In the future, please convert document into text−searchable PDF prior to filing − (related document(s): 17 Jury Demand filed by JOHN DOES 1−3, CITY OF PELHAM, NEALIE MCCORMICK ). (mdm) (Entered: 06/23/2015)

June 23, 2015
18

AMENDED RULES 16/26 ORDER : Proposed Scheduling/Discovery order due by 8/31/2015. Scheduling Conference set for 9/22/2015 11:00 AM in Albany before US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS. Corporate Disclosures due by 7/31/2015. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 7/17/2015. (mtc) (Entered: 07/17/2015)

July 17, 2015
19

NOTICE Substitution of Party by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST (PRIMERANO, RYAN) (Entered: 08/31/2015)

Aug. 31, 2015
20

CONSENT MOTION by CITY OF BAINBRIDGE, ERIC MILLER filed by RALEIGH ROLLINS. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order − Consent Order)(ROLLINS, RALEIGH) (Entered: 09/17/2015)

Sept. 17, 2015

Minute Entry for proceedings held before US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS: Scheduling Conference held on 9/22/2015. Scheduling/Discovery Order to be entered. Court Reporter: Darlene Fuller. (mtc) (Entered: 09/22/2015)

Sept. 22, 2015
21

SCHEDULING/DISCOVERY ORDER : Discovery to be complete by 3/21/2016. Dispositive motions due by 5/5/2016. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 09/23/2015. (mdm) (Entered: 09/23/2015)

Sept. 23, 2015
22

AMENDED MOTION Amending 20 MOTION by VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST filed by SARAH ELISABETH GERAGHTY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(GERAGHTY, SARAH) (Entered: 10/02/2015)

Oct. 2, 2015

*DISREGARD* Notice of Deficiency; Document must be refiled to separate out exhibit from proposed text order. You must include a description of exhibit(s) − (related document(s): 22 AMENDED MOTION filed by VERA CHEEKS, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST, JAMES H DAVIS, JR ). (mdm) Modified on 10/5/2015 (mdm). (Entered: 10/05/2015)

Oct. 5, 2015
23

STIPULATION of Dismissal by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST (GERAGHTY, SARAH) (Entered: 10/21/2015)

Oct. 21, 2015
24

ORDER granting 20 Motion; granting 22 Amended Motion. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 10/23/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Standing Order Concerning Probation Supervision, # 2 Exhibit B − Settlement Agreement and General Release) (mdm) (Entered: 10/23/2015)

Oct. 23, 2015
25

ORDER re 23 Stipulation of Dismissal filed by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST, JAMES H DAVIS, JR. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 10/23/2015. (mdm) (Entered: 10/23/2015)

Oct. 23, 2015
26

JOINT MOTION Entry of Consent Order by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST filed by SARAH ELISABETH GERAGHTY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Consent Order)(GERAGHTY, SARAH) (Entered: 11/10/2015)

Nov. 10, 2015
27

STIPULATION of Dismissal by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST (GERAGHTY, SARAH) (Entered: 11/10/2015)

Nov. 10, 2015
28

MOTION for Leave to File Under Seal by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST filed by RYAN PRIMERANO. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Granting Leave to File Under Seal)(PRIMERANO, RYAN) (Entered: 12/28/2015)

Dec. 28, 2015
29

This is a text only entry; no document issued. ORDER granting 28 Motion for Leave to File. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 1/26/2016.(rdb) (Entered: 01/26/2016)

Jan. 26, 2016
30

SEALED DOCUMENT − Settlement Agreement (bcl) (Entered: 01/26/2016)

Jan. 26, 2016
31

CONSENT ORDER regarding 26 Motion. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE LESLIE J ABRAMS on 02/01/2016. (mdm) (Entered: 02/01/2016)

Feb. 1, 2016
32

STIPULATION of Dismissal by FRED BARBER, VERA CHEEKS, JAMES H DAVIS, JR, ADEL EDWARDS, ULYSSES WEST (GERAGHTY, SARAH) (Entered: 03/01/2016)

March 1, 2016

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 10, 2015

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Five indigent probationers, individually and on behalf of a putative class similarly situated and affected

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Pending

Defendants

Red Hills Community Probation, LLC, Private Entity/Person

City of Pelham, City

City of Bainbridge, City

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2016 - 2020

Content of Injunction:

Training

Issues

General:

Courts

Discharge & termination plans

Over/Unlawful Detention

Pattern or Practice

Poverty/homelessness