Filed Date: April 15, 2020
Clearinghouse coding complete
COVID-19 Summary: This petition, brought by the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the Independent Juvenile Defender Program, sought the release of youth detainees in Los Angeles County. The plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to immediately reduce youth populations in juvenile halls, conduct an expedited review of eligible LA County detainees. On May 12, the Superior Court denied the petition.
On April 14, 2020, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP) and the Independent Juvenile Defender Program (IJDP), on behalf of all youth detained in Los Angeles County, filed a petition against the Los Angeles Juvenile Superior requesting the release of youth detainees. Originally filed in the Supreme Court of California, the case was kicked down to the Court of Appeals, with directions to issue an order to show cause. The case was returned before the Los Angeles County Superior Court and assigned to Judge Brett Bianco.
On March 31, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion requiring the Probation Department and other county agencies to reduce and safeguard juvenile camp populations. On March 24, the LA Superior Court announced an expedited court process to release an extensive list of adult individuals held pretrial in county jails, which waived the need for a court hearing, immediately effective upon the court’s ex parte review. The plaintiffs alleged that youth release, unlike adult release, still mandated the defendant’s original procedure to conduct an individualized review of each youth’s circumstances. Further, the plaintiffs noted that only 66 youths were released from youth camps by mid-April, with no additional strategy for mass release.
This petition was filed after a probation officer at Barry J. Nirdoff Juvenile Hall (Juvenile Hall) tested positive for COVID-19 early April, which led to the spread of the virus to six probation officers and cohorts of youth into quarantine by April 13. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that youths detained at the Juvenile Hall did not have access to hand sanitizer and masks and that the facility did not adequately implement social distancing. The plaintiffs alleged that the failure to protect youth in confinement constituted a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.
Filed in the Supreme Court of California on April 15, the plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to immediately reduce youth populations in juvenile halls, conduct an expedited review of eligible LA County detainees, aged 12 to 23, suspend new admissions, and prohibit transfers into juvenile facilities. Additionally, the plaintiffs sought health and safety measures consistent with recommendations issued by the Center on Disease Control. The plaintiffs were represented by private counsel.
On April 17, the defendants filed an informal response and denied that efforts to release youth from detention were inadequate.
On April 22, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals (Second Appellate District) with directions to issue an order to show cause returnable before the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Following the transfer, the case was deemed filed at the Superior Court of the State of California, and assigned to Judge Brett Bianco.
On May 7, the petitioners filed a response asserting that the Probation Department adequately implemented CDC guidelines. On the same day, the LA County Probation Departed reported two confirmed cases
of COVID-19 among youth, one held at Barry J, the other held at Central Juvenile Hall. By May 14, three youths held at Central Juvenile Hall, one youth at Barry J, and another youth at an unnamed facility tested positive for COVID-19.
On May 12, County Superior Court Judge Brett Bianco denied the petition, finding that the petition did not demonstrate sufficient evidence that the County had failed to act reasonably to protect detained youth, or that the youth were held in unconstitutional conditions.
Averyn Lee (6/21/2020)
Bianco, Brett D. (California)
Baxter, Margo (California)
Bennett, Frederick R. (California)
Newman, Jane Elizabeth (California)
Pomeroy, John F (California)
Last updated Sept. 9, 2022, 3 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: California
Filing Date: April 15, 2020
Case Ongoing: No reason to think so
Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and Independent Juvenile Defender Office on behalf of all youth detained in juvenile halls and camps in Los Angeles County
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Defendant
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Type of Facility: