University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Freeman v. Hansell JI-NY-0012
Docket / Court 451130/2020 ( State Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: In this case, 5 teens detained by Family Courts in New York City detention centers sued New York City's Administration for Children's Services seeking immediate release. On April 17, the petition for habeas corpus was denied.


On March 25, 2020, 5 youth detained by ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: In this case, 5 teens detained by Family Courts in New York City detention centers sued New York City's Administration for Children's Services seeking immediate release. On April 17, the petition for habeas corpus was denied.


On March 25, 2020, 5 youth detained by Family Courts in New York City during pendency of their juvenile delinquency cases filed this habeas petition in New York State trial court (which is called the New York Supreme Court). Represented by the Legal Aid Society of New York, the petitioners sought immediate release on the grounds that continuing to hold them in these facilities constitutes deliberate indifference to the risk of serious medical harm in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and state constitutional right to due process. The respondent in this case was the Commission of New York City Administration of Children's Services.

The petitioners alleged that they were especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 due to physical design of the youth detention facilities. By design, the facilities hold youth in close congregate settings which shared dining rooms, common recreational areas, communal bathrooms and showers, and at some sites, shared bedrooms. The petition claimed that the social isolation measures needed to stop the spread of the virus are "effectively impossible in juvenile detention centers." The petition also noted "significant emotional harm" to the youth because of an end to visits by family members to detained teens. In addition, the petition claimed that the teens were more vulnerable to COVID-19 because juvenile detainees are more likely to suffer from asthma and other health issues linked to poverty.

On April 15, 2020, the parties stipulated to withdrawing their petition with respect to 4 of the 5 teens.

On April 17, 2020 Judge Michael L. Katz issued an order denying the petition for habeas corpus, finding that the petitioners had been "unable to meet their high burden of showing that respondent [had] been 'deliberately indifferent.'" Even so, the court ordered that respondents should: (1) ensure that necessary personal protective equipment be worn by all staff members; (2) increase oversight to ensure social distancing was followed; and (3) issue clearer guidelines for cleaning the facility.

Cedar Hobbs - 06/14/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
COVID-19
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Denied
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Juveniles
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) New York City
Plaintiff Description 22 teens detained by Family Court in New York City facilities
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 03/25/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Court Docket(s)
State Trial Court
04/17/2020
451130/2020
JI-NY-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
State Trial Court
03/25/2020
Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
JI-NY-0012-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Trial Court
03/27/2020
Affirmation of David S. Thayer in Opposition to Petitioner's Verified Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 5]
JI-NY-0012-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Trial Court
03/27/2020
Exhibit A [ECF# 6]
JI-NY-0012-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: State Court Website
State Trial Court
04/17/2020
Decision/Order [ECF# 7]
JI-NY-0012-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: State Court Website
show all people docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bella, Christine (New York) show/hide docs
JI-NY-0012-0001
Freeman, Lisa (New York) show/hide docs
JI-NY-0012-0001 | JI-NY-0012-9000
Stern, Judith (New York) show/hide docs
JI-NY-0012-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Thayer, David S. (New York) show/hide docs
JI-NY-0012-0002 | JI-NY-0012-9000
Other Lawyers Katz, J. Michael (Indiana) show/hide docs
JI-NY-0012-0004

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -