Case: Johnnie K. v. Curry Co.

1:81-cv-00914 | U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Filed Date: Nov. 4, 1981

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 4, 1981, juveniles confined in the Curry County Jail in New Mexico filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq., in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Curry County, county commissioners, the sheriff, District Court Judges, and Children's Court Judges. The class consists of all juveniles who were incarcerated as of November 4, 1981 and who would be confined in …

On November 4, 1981, juveniles confined in the Curry County Jail in New Mexico filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq., in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Curry County, county commissioners, the sheriff, District Court Judges, and Children's Court Judges. The class consists of all juveniles who were incarcerated as of November 4, 1981 and who would be confined in the Curry County Jail. Southern New Mexico Legal Services and the Youth Law Center represented the class. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the conditions and policies at the Curry County Jail violated the constitutional guarantees of due process, rehabilitative treatment in the least restrictive setting, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants confined "status offenders" and other juveniles who presented no danger to themselves or others, and confined juveniles without adequate separation from adult offenders. The defendants allegedly failed to maintain the jail cells in a sanitary condition, failed to address the inadequacy of the plumbing system, which resulted in the backing up of sewers and flooding, failed to provide adequate ventilation or lighting, failed to take sufficient fire safety precautions, and failed to provide exercise or recreation opportunities to the confined juveniles. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that they were not provided medical or mental health screening or services, and that the jail personnel was not trained to identify and respond to problems of juveniles.

On August 31, 1983, a settlement agreement and final order was entered by the District Court (Judge Edwin L. Mechem). The settlement agreement provided that on or before September 1, 1983, juveniles would no longer be detained in the Curry County Jail. The issue of plaintiffs' attorneys' costs fees were still in dispute, so the District Court retained jurisdiction.

Summary Authors

Kaitlin Corkran (5/21/2006)


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bertenthal, Philip J. (California)

McCormack, Charles (New Mexico)

Robinson, Shannon A. (Colorado)

Shotton, Alice C. (California)

Soler, Mark I. (California)

Stanton, John W. (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bell, Steven L. (New Mexico)

Murray, Frank A. (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bertenthal, Philip J. (California)

McCormack, Charles (New Mexico)

Robinson, Shannon A. (Colorado)

Shotton, Alice C. (California)

Soler, Mark I. (California)

Stanton, John W. (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bell, Steven L. (New Mexico)

Murray, Frank A. (New Mexico)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Second Amended Civil Complaint for Injunctive, Declaratory and Equitable Relief and Damages (Class Action)

Jan. 15, 1982 Complaint

Settlement Agreement and Final Order as to Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages

Aug. 31, 1983 Settlement Agreement

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: New Mexico

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 4, 1981

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

juveniles confined in the Curry County Jail in New Mexico

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Youth Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Curry County, New Mexico, County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1983 - 0

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Education

Fire safety

Recreation / Exercise

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Youth / Adult separation

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run