University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name County of Nevada v. Superior Court of Nevada County JC-CA-0113
Docket / Court C0740504 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In 2013, the commander of the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, a county jail in California, informed the inmates that lawyers would no longer be able to meet face-to-face with their clients. Instead, lawyers would have to meet with clients through glass walls, speaking into telephones. Both ... read more >
In 2013, the commander of the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, a county jail in California, informed the inmates that lawyers would no longer be able to meet face-to-face with their clients. Instead, lawyers would have to meet with clients through glass walls, speaking into telephones. Both attorneys and inmates testified that communication was much harder through these “telephones” and that the conversations were not private because the glass partitions were not adequately soundproofed. Several inmates brought suit in California superior court. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court, notwithstanding the deference that courts ordinarily accord jails and prisons in conducting their own affairs, ordered the jail to make face-to-face visits available absent individual circumstances justifying separation.

The County of Nevada then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the California Third District Court of Appeal, which granted a preliminary motion to stay the superior court’s order. The parties and amici then presented arguments on the legal issues. The Court of Appeal ultimately determined that the superior court did not abuse its discretion and refused to issue the writ, so the trial court’s order stood. 236 Cal. App. 4th 1001 (Apr. 23, 2015). The court denied attorney’s costs to the prisoners’ lawyers who had initiated the suit.

Elizabeth Helpling - 03/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Defendant(s) Superior Court of Nevada County
Wayne Brown Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description Prisoners at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Nevada County, California.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 2013
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
State Court of Appeals
04/23/2015
[Court of Appeal Opinion] (2015 WL 2266684)
JC-CA-0113-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
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Judges Mauro, Louis R. (State Appellate Court) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0113-0001

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