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Case Name Allison v. Allen CJ-NC-0009
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-01126 ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
This is a class-action lawsuit challenging the detention of indigent individuals awaiting trial who are unable to post bail in exchange for their freedom. On November 12, 2019, three confined individuals in the Alamance County Detention Center, North Carolina, filed this lawsuit in the U.S ... read more >
This is a class-action lawsuit challenging the detention of indigent individuals awaiting trial who are unable to post bail in exchange for their freedom. On November 12, 2019, three confined individuals in the Alamance County Detention Center, North Carolina, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The plaintiffs sued the Chief Alamance County District Court Judge, District Court Magistrates, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge, and the Sheriff under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. They alleged violations of their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection, their Fourteenth Amendment rights to substantive and procedural due process, and their right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Judge N. Carlton Tilley, Jr. was assigned to the case.

The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU) and the Civil Rights Corps, sought a declaratory judgment that would require the defendants to make individualized determinations of conditions of release based on the plaintiffs’ proposed bail-setting procedure. The procedure would require the defendants to:
  • assess each individual’s ability to pay bail and the amount of money he/she can afford;
  • provide a hearing at the first opportunity on the individual’s ability to afford bail;
  • provide the individual with free counsel at the hearing; and
  • determine whether continued detention is warranted based on substantive findings on the record by clear and convincing evidence.
In addition, the plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order requiring their release if they are not provided this procedure. They also sought a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of pretrial detention in the absence of the defendants’ written notice that the procedure is followed in each arrested individual’s case. Lastly, the plaintiffs requested that the court certify the class as “all people who are arrested and charged with non-domestic violence offenses who are or will be detained in the Alamance County Detention Center because they are unable to pay monetary conditions of pretrial release."

The judge denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order and scheduled a December 2, 2019 hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction. Before the hearing, the parties moved for an extension and requested that the hearing be rescheduled to allow them more time to reach an agreement. The judge granted the request and reset the hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction to March 16, 2020.

On March 2, the parties filed a joint status report and motion to stay indicating that they no longer need a preliminary injunction hearing. They indicated they were working towards finalization of an interim agreement and a consent preliminary injunction. The parties requested that filing deadlines be delayed to April 30, 2020. The judge granted the joint motion to stay.

The parties reached an agreement and requested court approval of a consent order for preliminary injunction on May 1, 2020. Shortly after, Judge Tilley, Jr. approved the consent order for a preliminary injunction. Under the consent order, the judicial defendants agreed to put into place administrative orders and provide training to ensure that individuals in custody have their hearing within 48 hours of arrest or the next available court session and receive notice of federal constitutional rights at issue and about the significance of financial information to be collected prior to the individualized bail hearing. In addition, the order required judicial officers to conduct an inquiry into an individual’s ability to pay the full amount of bail and set forth a number of rebuttable presumptions establishing that an individual was unable to afford bail. The defendants agreed to reporting on compliance and to implement the order by July 1, 2020. The court retained jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the order.

According to the consent order for a preliminary injunction, the parties also continued to make efforts to reach a final resolution in the case. Since May 8, 2020, there have been no additional entries in the docket. The court retains jurisdiction over the preliminary injunction, but the case is stayed. As of April 8, 2021, this case is ongoing.

Kat Zhao - 03/12/2020
Emily Kempa - 04/08/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Alamance County District Court Judges
Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Indigent individuals detained and awaiting trial because they are unable to pay monetary conditions of release
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 11/12/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Alamance County, NC: Bail
http://www.civilrightscorps.org/
Date: Nov. 12, 2019
By: Civil Rights Corps
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
M.D. N.C.
05/08/2020
1:19-cv-1126
CJ-NC-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
M.D. N.C.
11/12/2019
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-NC-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
11/12/2019
Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 5]
CJ-NC-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
11/12/2019
Motion for Class-Wide Preliminary Injunction and Request for Hearing [ECF# 6]
CJ-NC-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. N.C.
05/08/2020
Consent Order for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 56]
CJ-NC-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Auld, Patrick Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-9000
Tilley, Norwood Carlton Jr. (M.D. N.C.) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0004 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Buskey, Brandon (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Carter, Twyla (New York) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Como, Irena (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Halperin, Eric I. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Kang, Leah J. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Webb, Ann Capps (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-0001 | CJ-NC-0009-0002 | CJ-NC-0009-0003 | CJ-NC-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Albright, Clyde Ballinger (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-9000
Finarelli, Joseph (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-9000
Hill, William L (North Carolina) show/hide docs
CJ-NC-0009-9000

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