Case: Hixson v. Hope

06-cv-29154 | California state trial court

Filed Date: April 26, 2006

Closed Date: March 15, 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 26, 2006, parents of a juvenile son incarcerated in the San Joaquin Juvenile Hall filed a complaint in the San Joaquin County, California, Superior Court, suing the county's chief probation officer and seeking to enjoin expenditure of public funds for alleged illegal conduct at the juvenile hall. Private counsel and the Prison Law Office represented the plaintiff. Both were also involved as plaintiffs' counsel in similar California cases in this database, Farrell v. Harper (JI-CA-13), …

On April 26, 2006, parents of a juvenile son incarcerated in the San Joaquin Juvenile Hall filed a complaint in the San Joaquin County, California, Superior Court, suing the county's chief probation officer and seeking to enjoin expenditure of public funds for alleged illegal conduct at the juvenile hall. Private counsel and the Prison Law Office represented the plaintiff. Both were also involved as plaintiffs' counsel in similar California cases in this database, Farrell v. Harper (JI-CA-13), Porter v. Speirs (JI-CA-15), and Waters v. Woodford (JI-CA-16).

The complaint set out numerous categories in which the hall, as operated, allegedly failed to meet state statutory standards, including inadequate physical safety (e.g., excessive staff use of force and physical restraints, staff-promoted fights, abuse of vulnerable juveniles, homemade weapons, and gangs), living conditions far from statutorily-mandated "homelike conditions" (e.g., poor meals, overcrowding, uncomfortable temperatures, broken plumbing, gang graffiti, and filth), administrative segregation ("ad seg") deficiencies (e.g., lockdown-type conditions, absence of rehabilitative programs or educational opportunities, failure to provide required Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), limited clothing, excessive isolation, and due process violations), inadequate medical and mental health care, inadequate provision of rehabilitative or educational programs for non-ad seg wards, and deficient grievance procedures exacerbated by staff misconduct. Citing numerous provisions of the state's constitution and statutes, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and for the court to retain jurisdiction over the case until it found sufficient compliance by the defendant with remedial orders plaintiff sought.

The defendant filed a demurrer to the complaint and sought to have the court (Judge Bobby W. McNatt) strike portions of the pleading. This, however, was denied. After discovery, the parties agreed to a set of four experts who would investigate the hall to determine whether or not the plaintiffs' allegations of substandard conditions were true.

On June 18, 2008, the parties submitted a consent decree to the court. The agreement spanned a wide range of the issues contained in the initial complaint. As a result, the defendant agreed to more robust training of its staff; stronger enforcement of policies pertaining to adequate treatment of juveniles; and improvements in its facilities and services (e.g., food, medical, educational). Moreover, the defendant ended its administrative segregation program but kept less isolating alternative, the behavior management unit. The defendant further agreed to create a grievance procedure for the juveniles to voice concerns regarding their conditions. Through the consent decree, however, the defendant admitted no fault, and the parties disagreed as to whether some of the improvements at the hall occurred prior to or after the plaintiffs' investigation of the hall. Finally, the parties agreed to permit the plaintiffs to submit document requests and be notified of any policy changes at the hall for a two year period.

The Clearinghouse has been unable to obtain further information about the interim period. The parties stipulated to dismiss the entire action and to dissolve the consent decree on March 7, 2012.

Summary Authors

Mike Fagan (5/16/2008)

Matthew Feng (9/4/2021)

People


Judge(s)

Holland, Lesley D. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chavez, Mark A. (California)

Kahn, Michael D. (California)

Keith, Traci M. (California)

Lee, Belinda S. (California)

Norman, Sara Linda (California)

Palamountain, Kathryn C. (California)

Park, Ju Y. (California)

Specter, Donald H. (California)

Ulmer, Richard Jr. (California)

Judge(s)

Holland, Lesley D. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chavez, Mark A. (California)

Kahn, Michael D. (California)

Keith, Traci M. (California)

Lee, Belinda S. (California)

Norman, Sara Linda (California)

Palamountain, Kathryn C. (California)

Park, Ju Y. (California)

Specter, Donald H. (California)

Ulmer, Richard Jr. (California)

Wang, Philip J. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gutierrez, Gilberto (California)

Suntag, Dana A. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

CV029154

Docket

Walter Hixson et al. v. Chris Hope

March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012

Docket

06-cv-29154

Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief

April 25, 2006

April 25, 2006

Complaint

06-cv-29154

[Proposed] Consent Decree

June 18, 2008

June 18, 2008

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 1, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 26, 2006

Closing Date: March 15, 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Parents seeking to enjoin expenditure of funds to promulgate, administer, and enforce illegal policies, practices, and procedures in the San Joaquin County Juvenile Hall.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Prison Law Office

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

San Joaquin County (San Joaquin), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Document/information produced

Declaratory Judgment

Attorneys fees

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2008 - 2012

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitor/Master

Recordkeeping

Training

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Assault/abuse by staff

Bathing and hygiene

Confinement/isolation

Education

Excessive force

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Grievance Procedures

Juveniles

Pepper/OC spray

Rehabilitation

Religious programs / policies

Restraints : physical

Sanitation / living conditions

Suicide prevention

Totality of conditions

Visiting

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Suicide prevention

Type of Facility:

Government-run