Case: Freeman v. Riverside County

RIC2001772 | California state trial court

Filed Date: June 1, 2020

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is about whether the parents of children who interact with the juvenile justice system can be forced to pay the costs of those services in the absence of legal process. The plaintiffs in this case, parents and grandparents of children who were involved in the juvenile justice system in Riverside County, California, alleged that they were ordered to pay “juvenile administrative fees” to cover the cost of their children’s interactions with the system, including the cost of juvenile dete…

This case is about whether the parents of children who interact with the juvenile justice system can be forced to pay the costs of those services in the absence of legal process. The plaintiffs in this case, parents and grandparents of children who were involved in the juvenile justice system in Riverside County, California, alleged that they were ordered to pay “juvenile administrative fees” to cover the cost of their children’s interactions with the system, including the cost of juvenile detention. They further alleged that the County and the Riverside County Superior Court imposed these fees without individualized consideration of the parents’ ability to pay, as required by Article I, Section 7, of the California Constitution, various California statutes, and the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution, and authorized private collections agencies to pursue families in an attempt to collect these fees. Finally, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants continued to collect this money illegally after a new statute prohibiting the practice came into effect in 2018.

This putative class action lawsuit was filed in Riverside County Superior Court on June 1, 2020. The case was initially assigned to Judge Sharon J. Waters, but appears to have been transferred to Judge Sunshine Sykes later on in the litigation. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the National Youth Center for Youth Law and the Western Center on Law & Poverty, asked the court to certify a class of parents or guardians who paid juvenile administrative fees at the behest of the defendants. The plaintiffs requested reimbursement of juvenile administration payments already made by class members, a writ of mandate ordering the defendants to return those payments, a court order preventing the defendants from collecting such fees in the future, and attorneys' fees.

In September 2020, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The next month, the defendants filed a motion to demurrer (motion to dismiss) and a motion to strike the plaintiffs’ class action allegations from the complaint. After a hearing in early January 2021, the court denied the defendants demurrer with respect to all but one of the plaintiffs’ allegations and denied the defendants motion to strike the class action allegations. It did grant the defendants demurrer as to the plaintiffs’ state law reimbursement claim without prejudice, allowing the defendants to modify their claim and refile the complaint. The plaintiffs did just that on January 25, 2021.

After several months of discovery and negotiations, the plaintiffs moved for the certification of their class in September of 2021. As of November 2021, that motion remains pending.

The case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Jonah Hudson-Erdman (11/20/2021)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adams, Crystal (District of Columbia)

Gladstone, Elizabeth H (California)

Harris, Michael (California)

Miller, Rebecca Carr (California)

Prieto, Alexander (California)

Rothschild, Richard (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Adams, Crystal (District of Columbia)

Gladstone, Elizabeth H (California)

Harris, Michael (California)

Miller, Rebecca Carr (California)

Prieto, Alexander (California)

Rothschild, Richard (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

RIC2001772

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Taxpayer Complaint

June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020

Complaint

RIC2001772

Second Verified Supplemental and Amended Petition for Writ of Mandate; Complaint; and Taxpayer Complaint

Jan. 25, 2021

Jan. 25, 2021

Complaint

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 30, 2022, 12:26 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of Poverty)

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 1, 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All parents or guardians who made involuntary and/or voluntary payments for 16 juvenile administrative fees purportedly assessed by Respondents.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

National Center for Youth Law

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Pending

Defendants

Riverside County (Riverside, Riverside), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General:

Courts

Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond

Juveniles

Parents (visitation, involvement)