Case: Howerton v. Mississippi County

3:71-00054 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas

Filed Date: Sept. 29, 1971

Closed Date: 1973

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Case Summary

On September 29, 1971, former and present inmates of the Mississippi County (Arkansas) Penal Farm filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleging that the county had violated their constitutional rights by requiring them to work in unsafe conditions, providing them inadequate medical care and clothing, maintaining unsanitary showering and kitchen facilities at the jail, and failing to protect them from assaults by oth…

On September 29, 1971, former and present inmates of the Mississippi County (Arkansas) Penal Farm filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleging that the county had violated their constitutional rights by requiring them to work in unsafe conditions, providing them inadequate medical care and clothing, maintaining unsanitary showering and kitchen facilities at the jail, and failing to protect them from assaults by other inmates. Plaintiffs alleged that the institution forced those sentenced for misdemeanors to work on public works projects for no pay.

On May 11, 1973, the District Court (Judge Garnett T. Eisele) denied the plaintiffs' constitutional claims and requests for declaratory and injunctive relief, dismissing the case. Howerton v. Mississippi County, 361 F. Supp. 356 (E.D.Ark. 1973). The court further held that working of misdemeanants without compensation on public projects was not unconstitutional and that a statute permitting contracts between counties to incarcerate and work convicts from other counties did not violate the Thirteenth Amendment. We have no further information on this case besides this published opinion.

Summary Authors

David Terry (4/25/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Eisele, Garnett Thomas (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Pearson, Gerald (Arkansas)

Sudbury, Graham (Arkansas)

Judge(s)

Eisele, Garnett Thomas (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Pearson, Gerald (Arkansas)

Sudbury, Graham (Arkansas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Memorandum Opinion

361 F.Supp. 356

May 11, 1973 Order/Opinion

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Arkansas

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 29, 1971

Closing Date: 1973

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

inmates of the Mississippi County (Arkansas) Penal Farm

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Mississippi County (Mississippi), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Order Duration: 1971 - 1973

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Bathing and hygiene

Personal injury

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Medical care, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run