Case: Stewart v. Lubbock County, Texas

5:82-cv-00104 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Filed Date: July 20, 1982

Closed Date: Aug. 5, 1985

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In the early 1980s, two female arrestees, Paulette Stewart and Barbara Wilkerson, filed separate lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the blanket strip search policy of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department. Each plaintiff was arrested for a minor crime (one for public intoxication, the other for a bad check charge) and then strip searched at the Lubbock County Jail pursuant to the Sheriff's policy of strip searching all arrestees, regardless of…

In the early 1980s, two female arrestees, Paulette Stewart and Barbara Wilkerson, filed separate lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the blanket strip search policy of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department. Each plaintiff was arrested for a minor crime (one for public intoxication, the other for a bad check charge) and then strip searched at the Lubbock County Jail pursuant to the Sheriff's policy of strip searching all arrestees, regardless of the crime charged or whether there was any suspicion that the individual possessed weapons or contraband. Both plaintiffs sought monetary damages and injunctive relief, and Wilkerson also sought class certification.

The District Court (Judge Halbert O. Woodward) awarded Wilkerson $15,000 in monetary damages and awarded Stewart nominal damages of $1.00. The District Court also entered a temporary and permanent injunction in the Stewart case, enjoining strip searches under the Lubbock County Sheriff's blanket strip search policy. Stewart's attorneys then moved for attorneys' fees. When the Sheriff failed to respond to the motion, the Court granted it and awarded fees.

The Sheriff appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that: (1) in both cases, the District Court committed a legal error in ruling that the County's strip search policy was unconstitutional; and (2) in the Stewart case, the District Court further abused its discretion in refusing to set aside the default judgment for attorney's fees. The cases were consolidated on appeal, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgments in both cases. Stewart v. Lubbock County, Texas 767 F.2d 153 (5th Cir. 1985).

The Sheriff subsequently requested but was denied a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. Lubbock County, Tex. v. Stewart, 475 U.S. 1066, 106 S.Ct. 1378, 89 L.Ed.2d 604 (U.S. 1986).

We have no further information on this case.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (2/12/2008)

People


Judge(s)

Hill, Robert Madden (Texas)

Hinojosa, Ricardo H. (Texas)

Johnson, Samuel D. Jr. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hall, Mark C. (Texas)

Hult, Nathan (Texas)

Rogers, Marvin (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Darnell, Jim Bob (Texas)

Fletcher, Kay P. (Texas)

Kuhne, Cecil (Texas)

Judge(s)

Hill, Robert Madden (Texas)

Hinojosa, Ricardo H. (Texas)

Johnson, Samuel D. Jr. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hall, Mark C. (Texas)

Hult, Nathan (Texas)

Rogers, Marvin (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Darnell, Jim Bob (Texas)

Fletcher, Kay P. (Texas)

Kuhne, Cecil (Texas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

84-01199

84-01331

84-01406

[Opinion Affirming District Court]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

767 F.2d 153

Aug. 5, 1985

Aug. 5, 1985

Order/Opinion

85-01241

[Cert. Denied]

Lubbock County, Texas, et al v. Stewart, et al

Supreme Court of the United States

475 U.S. 1066, 106 S.Ct. 1378, 89 L.Ed.2d 604

March 10, 1986

March 10, 1986

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated Aug. 28, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Jail Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Strip Search Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 20, 1982

Closing Date: Aug. 5, 1985

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Women charged with minor offenses and strip searched at the Lubbock County Jail pursuant to a blanket search policy, without any reasonable suspicion that they possessed weapons or contraband.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

Sheriff of Lubbock County (Lubbock), County

Lubbock County, Texas (Lubbock), County

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Search policies

Strip search policy

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run