Case: U.S. v. Maricopa County

2:97-cv-02273 | U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Filed Date: Oct. 30, 1997

Closed Date: Nov. 18, 1997

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County Arizona officials in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on October 31, 1997, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action stems from an investigation authorized under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, as a result of allegations that poor conditions in the Maricopa County Jails (Jails) violated inmates' constitutional rights. The investigation was commenced on August 8, 1995, an…

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County Arizona officials in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on October 31, 1997, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action stems from an investigation authorized under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, as a result of allegations that poor conditions in the Maricopa County Jails (Jails) violated inmates' constitutional rights. The investigation was commenced on August 8, 1995, and it focused on allegations of excessive force and denial of adequate medical care. On March 25, 1996, the Justice Department sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, stating that the Department of Justice had concluded that unconstitutional conditions exist at the Jails with respect to the use of excessive force against inmates and deliberate indifference to inmates' serious medical needs. Letter from Deval L. Patrick, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, to Ed King, Chairman, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (Mar. 25, 1996).

The findings of excessive force included punching and kicking inmates and the use of cuffs, restraint chairs and stun guns. Systematic factors in the Jails were found to lead to excessive force because of inadequate and inexperienced staffing, the overavailability of non-lethal weapons, overcrowding in intake, insufficient training and inadequate tracking of potentially problematic staff. The findings regarding medical care included insufficient access to medical care, inadequate medical screenings in intake, inadequate protection from infectious disease, inadequate psychiatric care and deficient medical care for prisoners on work furlough. The letter concluded by stating that pursuant to CRIPA, the Attorney General would be permitted to institute a lawsuit if the identified deficiencies were not corrected.

The instant lawsuit was subsequently filed, alleging that Maricopa County had failed to adequately address the stated constitutional violations resulting from the CRIPA investigation.

On November 18, 1997, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Judge Roger G. Strand) issued an order granting the dismissal of the civil action conditioned upon compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement by the defendants. U.S. v. County of Maricopa, No. 97-2273 (D.Ariz. Nov. 18, 1997) (order granting conditional dismissal). The remedies mandated by the settlement agreement included the construction of a new intake facility to reduce congestion and waiting time, access to adequate toilet and shower facilities for inmates on work furlough, increased staffing, increased in-service training, changes in Jail policy regarding use of force and restraint techniques, and improved investigations and increased sanctions for incidents of use of excessive force. The case was dismissed by Judge Strand on July 6, 1998.

Summary Authors

Tom Madison (2/4/2006)

Related Cases

Graves v. Arpaio, District of Arizona (1977)

People


Judge(s)

Strand, Roger Gordon (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bartels, Robert D. (Iowa)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Napolitano, Janet (Arizona)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Stein, Lee David (Arizona)

Judge(s)

Strand, Roger Gordon (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bartels, Robert D. (Iowa)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Napolitano, Janet (Arizona)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Stein, Lee David (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Duke, Cleon M. (Arizona)

Jones, William R. Jr. (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

July 6, 1998 Docket

Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Maricopa County Jails

No Court

March 25, 1996 Findings Letter/Report
1

Complaint

Oct. 31, 1997 Complaint

Settlement Agreement

Oct. 31, 1997 Settlement Agreement
9

Order

Nov. 18, 1997 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

A Case Study of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act: Reforming the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

Melanie Ann Taylor

This dissertation examined the long-term reforms at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections following a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice from 2004 to 2007. Interviews were co… Jan. 1, 2013 None

Docket

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT FILED (MAP) (Entered: 11/03/1997)

Oct. 31, 1997
2

UNOPPOSED MOTION for conditional dismissal by pla USA [2-1] (MAP) (Entered: 11/03/1997)

Oct. 31, 1997
3

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Andy Kunasek (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
4

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Mary Rose Wilcox (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
5

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Fulton Brock (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
6

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Don Stapley (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
7

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Maricopa, County of (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
8

RETURN OF SERVICE UNEXECUTED - attempted upon dft Jan Brewer (former emp) (Entered: 11/05/1997)

Nov. 5, 1997
9

ORDER by Judge Roger G. Strand granting motion for conditional dismissal by pla USA [2-1] terminating case ; the dismissal is conditioned upon dfts' compliance with the terms of the settlement agreement; the Clerk of the Court shall place this case on inactive status.... (cc: all counsel) (LAD) (Entered: 11/18/1997)

Nov. 18, 1997
10

JOINT MOTION for (case) dismissal by pla, dfts [10-1] (LAD) (Entered: 07/06/1998)

June 29, 1998
11

ORDER by Judge Roger G. Strand granting joint motion for (case) dismissal by pla, dfts [10-1] and dismissing this action each party to bear its own costs (cc: all counsel) (LAD) (Entered: 07/06/1998)

July 6, 1998

State / Territory: Arizona

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 30, 1997

Closing Date: Nov. 18, 1997

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Maricopa County Jails (Maricopa), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

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: 1997 - 1998

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Restraints : physical

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run