Case: Taylor v. Sterrett

1:71-05220 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Filed Date: Oct. 26, 1971

Closed Date: 1979

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1971, four inmates of the Dallas County Jail filed a class action suit under section 1983 against jail officials alleging that they were being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. In 1972, after a trial on the merits, the district court for the Northern District of Texas (Judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes) enjoined defendants from violating Texas state law, censoring inmates' mail, allowing overcrowded conditions, using inmates as corridor bosses, and destroying reading materials and instru…

In 1971, four inmates of the Dallas County Jail filed a class action suit under section 1983 against jail officials alleging that they were being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. In 1972, after a trial on the merits, the district court for the Northern District of Texas (Judge Sarah Tilghman Hughes) enjoined defendants from violating Texas state law, censoring inmates' mail, allowing overcrowded conditions, using inmates as corridor bosses, and destroying reading materials and instructed defendants to provide an outdoor area for exercise, provide sufficient security, implement policies and procedures regarding inmate conduct, change visitation policies, and create a classification system. Taylor v. Sterrett, 344 F. Supp. 411 (N.D. Tex. 1972). Defendants appealed and in 1974 the Fifth Circuit affirmed most of the district court's holdings but vacated and remanded the trial court's order regarding visitation and inmates as corridor bosses. Taylor v. Sterrett, 499 F.2d 367 (5th Cir. 1974). Subsequently, the district court ordered defendants to provide the court with written progress reports; defendants appealed, and the Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal in a per curium opinion. Taylor v. Sterrett, 527 F.2d 856 (5th Cir. 1976).

Over the next several years, the district court vigilantly monitored jail conditions and progress. In 1979, the Fifth Circuit ordered the district court to stop exercising jurisdiction and to dismiss the case, finding that the jail was in compliance with previous court orders. Taylor v. Sterrett, 600 F.2d 1135 (5th Cir. 1979). In 1981, litigation continued over attorney's fees. Taylor v. Sterrett, 640 F.2d 663 (5th Cir. 1981). The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the last reported decision in 1981.

Summary Authors

Lauren Cutson (5/26/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Brown, Paul Neeley (Texas)

Coleman, James Plemon (Louisiana)

Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Louisiana)

Gewin, Walter Pettus (Alabama)

Hughes, Lynn Nettleton (Texas)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bass, Stanley A. (New York)

Berger, Joel (New York)

Judge(s)

Ainsworth, Robert Andrew Jr. (Louisiana)

Brown, Paul Neeley (Texas)

Coleman, James Plemon (Louisiana)

Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Louisiana)

Gewin, Walter Pettus (Alabama)

Hughes, Lynn Nettleton (Texas)

Roney, Paul Hitch (Florida)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bass, Stanley A. (New York)

Berger, Joel (New York)

Byrd, Robert L. (Texas)

Clayton, James E. (Texas)

Demarest, Sylvia M. (Texas)

Dupont, Jarilyn Catherine (New York)

Eck, Sam K. (Texas)

Greenberg, Jack (New York)

Jordan, John F. (Texas)

Nabrit, James M. III (New York)

Ochoa, Jesus B. Jr. (Texas)

Ralston, Charles Stephen (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Luna, Earl (Texas)

Murto, Thomas V. III (Texas)

Porter, Robert William (Texas)

Tolle, John B. (Texas)

Wade, Henry (Texas)

Weatherly, Gerald (Texas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Reported opinion

344 F.Supp. 411, 1972 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13428

June 5, 1972 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

499 F.2d 367, 1974 U.S.App.LEXIS 7159

Aug. 19, 1974 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Decision

Supreme Court of the United States

421 U.S. 971, 95 S.Ct. 1969, 44 L.Ed.2d 463

May 12, 1975 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Decision

Supreme Court of the United States

420 U.S. 983, 95 S.Ct. 1414, 43 L.Ed.2d 665

May 12, 1975 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

527 F.2d 856, 1976 U.S.App.LEXIS 12688

Feb. 25, 1976 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

600 F.2d 1135, 1979 U.S.App.LEXIS 12443

Aug. 16, 1979 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

640 F.2d 663, 1981 U.S.App.LEXIS 18893

March 25, 1981 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 26, 1971

Closing Date: 1979

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates of the Dallas County Jail

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Dallas County Jail (Dallas), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1972 - 1979

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Disciplinary procedures

Law library access

Library (non-law) access

Recreation / Exercise

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Visiting

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Type of Facility:

Government-run