Case: United States v. Santa Fe County

1:08-cv-00212 | U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Filed Date: Feb. 28, 2008

Closed Date: Oct. 30, 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In March of 2002, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the confinement conditions at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (SFCADC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.Based on its investigation, the DOJ concluded that the conditions and practices at the Detention Center violated the constitutional rights of convicted inmates and pre-trial deta…

In March of 2002, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the confinement conditions at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (SFCADC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Based on its investigation, the DOJ concluded that the conditions and practices at the Detention Center violated the constitutional rights of convicted inmates and pre-trial detainees. By letter dated March 6, 2003, the DOJ advised Santa Fe County of minimal remedial measures it should implement in order to remedy unconstitutional practices relating to: (1) medical and mental health care; (2) suicide prevention; (3) protection of inmates from harm; (4) fire safety; (5) sanitation; and (6) inmate grievance procedures (including court access).

Santa Fe County agreed to make the recommended reforms. On November 11, 2004, to avoid litigation, the parties entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). MOA detailed the agreed reforms and set forth timetables for completion. By its terms, MOA was to last for a period of three years, after which it would expire if substantial compliance had been achieved.

Because the County had not substantially complied with the MOA, on February 28, 2008, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The U.S. sued the County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The U.S. claimed that the defendants had engaged in and continued to engage in a pattern or practice of failing to protect inmates at the SFCADC from serious harm and undue risk of serious harm by failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care and failing to provide safe and sanitary living conditions.

The case was originally assigned to District Judge Robert Hayes Scott and Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson. After the United States filed a notice of refusal to proceed before Magistrate Judge Torgerson, however, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Christina Armijo.

On March 6, 2008, the parties jointly moved for approval of a settlement agreement. The court granted this motion on April 30, 2008, retaining jurisdiction over the matter and conditionally dismissing the case subject to the defendants achieving substantial compliance with the agreement. This agreement replaced the MOA and required the defendant to provide adequate services to address the serious medical and mental health needs of all prisoners. The agreement required the defendants to have adequate staffing and provide training under the new policies. To ensure compliance, the agreement included monitoring, implementation of a grievance process, reporting, and record keeping. The agreement was to terminate after 2 years so long as the county had substantially complied with all provisions.

On July 2, 2008, the parties filed a status report with the court showing no significant problems with compliance. On October 30, 2009, pursuant to the recommendations made by the parties, the court dismissed the case with prejudice and terminated the settlement agreement and its associated order.

On November 1, 2009, after a two year extension to compel Santa Fe County to meet the benchmarks in the agreement, the DOJ allowed the terms of the agreement to expire. According an article in a local paper, the DOJ is no longer monitoring the county.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/14/2008)

Virginia Weeks (11/1/2016)

Jake Parker (6/28/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4518375/parties/united-states-v-santa-fe-county/


Judge(s)

Armijo, M. Christina (New Mexico)

Scott, Robert H. (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Dean, Kerry Krentler (District of Columbia)

England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)

Fouratt, Gregory James (New Mexico)

Gomez, Larry (New Mexico)

Judge(s)

Armijo, M. Christina (New Mexico)

Scott, Robert H. (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Dean, Kerry Krentler (District of Columbia)

England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)

Fouratt, Gregory James (New Mexico)

Gomez, Larry (New Mexico)

Graybill, Lisa Shawn (District of Columbia)

Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)

Iglesias, David C. (New Mexico)

Krentler, Kerry A. (District of Columbia)

Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Mitchell, Jan Elizabeth (New Mexico)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)

Shoenberg, Dana (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Kopelman, Steven (New Mexico)

Philips, Grace (New Mexico)

Ross, Stephen C. (New Mexico)

Other Attorney(s)

Auerbach, Gerald (New Mexico)

Blackwell, Edith (District of Columbia)

Erlewine, Chris (District of Columbia)

Myers, William G. III (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

United States of America v. Santa Fe County

Oct. 30, 2009 Docket

Re: Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (Formerly the Santa Fe County Correctional Facility)

DOJ Investigation: Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (Formerly the Santa Fe County Correctional Facility)

No Court

March 6, 2003 Findings Letter/Report

Memorandum of Agreement between the United States and Santa Fe County

DOJ Investigation: Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (Formerly the Santa Fe County Correctional Facility)

No Court

Nov. 1, 2004 Settlement Agreement
1

Complaint

U.S. v. Santa Fe County

Feb. 28, 2008 Complaint
5-1

Settlement Agreement

United States of America v. Santa fe County

Feb. 28, 2008 Settlement Agreement
5

Joint Motion for Entry of Settlement Agreement

March 6, 2008 Settlement Agreement
8

Joint Status Report

United States of America v. Santa Fe County

July 2, 2008 Pleading / Motion / Brief
11

Order of Final Dismissal

United States of America v. Santa Fe County

Oct. 30, 2009 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

The Caged Canary

Elizabeth Alexander

The United States has experienced an explosion in the number of people in prison, an explosion that cannot be attributed to changes in the crime rate, but rather reflects changes in public policy, pa… Dec. 1, 2008 http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/...

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4518375/united-states-v-santa-fe-county/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against all defendants ( Filing Fee - Waived), filed by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Certificate of the Attorney General# 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Mitchell, Jan) (Entered: 02/28/2008)

1 Exhibit Certificate of the Attorney General

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Feb. 28, 2008 RECAP
2

Letter re: Consent to Proceed before a US Magistrate Judge (nm) (Entered: 02/28/2008)

Feb. 28, 2008 PACER
3

NOTICE of Refusal to Proceed Before US Magistrate Judge by United States of America (Mitchell, Jan) (Entered: 03/03/2008)

March 3, 2008 PACER
4

MINUTE ORDER re: 3 Plaintiff's Notice of Consent/Refusal to Proceed Before US Magistrate Judge, Judge M. Christina Armijo added. Judge Alan C. Torgerson no longer assigned to case. (jrm) (Entered: 03/04/2008)

March 4, 2008 PACER
5

Joint MOTION for Order for Entry of Settlement Agreement by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Settlement Agreement)(Mitchell, Jan) (Entered: 03/06/2008)

1 Exhibit Settlement Agreement

View on PACER

March 6, 2008 PACER
6

ORDER by District Judge M. Christina Armijo granting 5 Joint Motion for Entry of Settlement Agreement (al) (Entered: 04/30/2008)

April 30, 2008 PACER
7

ORDER CLOSING CASE for statistical purposes and requiring parties to submit quarterly joint status reports by District Judge M. Christina Armijo (al) (Entered: 04/30/2008)

April 30, 2008 PACER
8

STATUS REPORT - JOINT by United States of America (Dean, Kerry) (Entered: 07/02/2008)

July 2, 2008 RECAP
11

ORDER OF FINAL DISMISSAL by District Judge M. Christina Armijo. (dc) (Entered: 10/30/2009)

Oct. 30, 2009 PACER

State / Territory: New Mexico

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 28, 2008

Closing Date: Oct. 30, 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

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

Sante Fe County (Santa Fe), County

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Due Process

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2008 - 2009

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Training

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Bathing and hygiene

Conditions of confinement

Fire safety

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Sanitation / living conditions

Sexual abuse by residents/inmates

Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Suicide prevention

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Medical/Mental Health:

Hepatitis

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Suicide prevention

Tuberculosis

Vision care

Type of Facility:

Non-government for profit