Case: United States v. State of Arizona

2:97-cv-00476 | U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Filed Date: March 10, 1997

Closed Date: Dec. 17, 1999

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case was brought by the United States pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). On February 8, 1995, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, served the Governor of Arizona with a notice letter regarding their intent to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and violations of privacy rights of female inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC). The Department of Justice sent its finding to Arizona governor J. Fife Symington on August 8, …

This case was brought by the United States pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). On February 8, 1995, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, served the Governor of Arizona with a notice letter regarding their intent to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and violations of privacy rights of female inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC).

The Department of Justice sent its finding to Arizona governor J. Fife Symington on August 8, 1996. The investigation found significant evidence of physical sexual misconduct and constitutionally unacceptable invasions of privacy. This included sexual relations between inmates and employees, sexual assaults, and frequent, prolonged viewing during dressing and showering of inmates.

In response to these findings the DOJ offered a series of recommendations which included: better screening of employees; improved training; investigation of any allegations of sexual misconduct or unlawful invasion of privacy; stronger sanctions including criminal prosecution for employee offenses; use of an independent outside agency to investigate allegations; as well as a number of proactive steps to address sexual misconduct and unlawful invasions of privacy. The findings letter also recommended the creation of a Women's Facilities Administrator to serve as a liaison between the women's facilities and ADOC's Director and Deputy Director. In conclusion, the findings letter provided a warning that should the ADOC not address these problems the Attorney General could institute a lawsuit to correct the deficiencies.

On March 10, 1997, the United States filed a complaint against the State of Arizona and Gov. Symington in the District of Arizona (Judge Roslyn Silver). The complaint alleged that the Defendants were violating the constitutional rights of female inmates to be free from sexual misconduct and unlawful invasions of privacy. The complaint sought to enjoin the Defendants from ""continuing the acts, practices and omissions"" of allowing sexual misconduct and unlawful invasion of the privacy of female inmates.

On October 2, 1998, Defendants moved for summary judgment. Prior to any ruling by the Court, the parties reached a settlement, which was filed on March 11, 1999. As part of the settlement, defendants did not admit any constitutional violations, but agreed to adopt policy and procedures from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, improve screening and training of employees, promote inmate awareness and comfort in reporting abuse, and thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse. The settlement required ""substantial compliance"" by the ADOC, to be determined by a jointly agreed monitor. The monitor would conduct three quarterly onsite tours following the filing of the settlement agreement. Provided the monitor found ""substantial compliance"" by the ADOC after the third tour, the lawsuit would be permanently dismissed.

On December 13, 1999, the parties jointly filed a stipulation to dismiss which Judge Silver granted in a December 17, 1999 order.

Summary Authors

Eoghan Keenan (4/16/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Silver [Moore-Silver], Roslyn O. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bartels, Robert (Arizona)

Jackson, Shelley (District of Columbia)

Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Silver [Moore-Silver], Roslyn O. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bartels, Robert (Arizona)

Jackson, Shelley (District of Columbia)

Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)

Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)

Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)

Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)

Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)

Rivera, Jose de Jesus (Arizona)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Garcia-Riley, Jeanne (Arizona)

Morrow, James Russel (Arizona)

Napolitano, Janet (Arizona)

Stein, Lee David (Arizona)

Wilder, William Charles (Arizona)

Woods, Grant (Arizona)

Other Attorney(s)

Blumberg, Bruce E. (Arizona)

Sandweiss, David L. (Arizona)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Stewart, David J. (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

USA v. Arizona

Oct. 15, 2001 Docket

Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Arizona Women's Prisons

U.S. v. Arizona

No Court

Aug. 8, 1996 Findings Letter/Report
1

Complaint

U.S.v. State of Arizona

March 10, 1997 Complaint
170

United States' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion Preliminary Statement

U.S.v. State of Arizona

Nov. 25, 1998 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Settlement Agreement

U.S. v. Arizona

March 11, 1999 Settlement Agreement

Resources

Title Description External URL

Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment

Mona Lynch

In the late 20th century, the United States experienced an incarceration explosion. Over the course of twenty years, the imprisonment rate quadrupled, and today more than than 1.5 million people are … Jan. 1, 2010 http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=17521

The Influence of Government Defenders on Affirmative Civil Rights Enforcement

Alexander A. Reinert

The focus of this brief Article will be on a conundrum, particularly in the area of civil rights enforcement: the federal government—in particular the DOJ—can be one of the most efficient and powerfu… April 1, 2018 https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol86/iss5/13/

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Arizona

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 10, 1997

Closing Date: Dec. 17, 1999

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Arizona DOC (Phoenix), State

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: 1999 - None

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Assault/abuse by staff

Counseling

Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary segregation

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run