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Case Name Freeman v. Riverside County CJ-CA-0027
Docket / Court RIC2001772 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Juvenile Institution
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization National Center for Youth Law
Case Summary
This case is about whether the parents of children who interact with the juvenile justice system can be forced to pay the costs of those services in the absence of legal process. The plaintiffs in this case, parents and grandparents of children who were involved in the juvenile justice system in ... read more >
This case is about whether the parents of children who interact with the juvenile justice system can be forced to pay the costs of those services in the absence of legal process. The plaintiffs in this case, parents and grandparents of children who were involved in the juvenile justice system in Riverside County, California, alleged that they were ordered to pay “juvenile administrative fees” to cover the cost of their children’s interactions with the system, including the cost of juvenile detention. They further alleged that the County and the Riverside County Superior Court imposed these fees without individualized consideration of the parents’ ability to pay, as required by Article I, Section 7, of the California Constitution, various California statutes, and the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution, and authorized private collections agencies to pursue families in an attempt to collect these fees. Finally, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants continued to collect this money illegally after a new statute prohibiting the practice came into effect in 2018.

This putative class action lawsuit was filed in Riverside County Superior Court on June 1, 2020. The case was initially assigned to Judge Sharon J. Waters, but appears to have been transferred to Judge Sunshine Sykes later on in the litigation. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the National Youth Center for Youth Law and the Western Center on Law & Poverty, asked the court to certify a class of parents or guardians who paid juvenile administrative fees at the behest of the defendants. The plaintiffs requested reimbursement of juvenile administration payments already made by class members, a writ of mandate ordering the defendants to return those payments, a court order preventing the defendants from collecting such fees in the future, and attorneys' fees.

In September 2020, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The next month, the defendants filed a motion to demurrer (motion to dismiss) and a motion to strike the plaintiffs’ class action allegations from the complaint. After a hearing in early January 2021, the court denied the defendants demurrer with respect to all but one of the plaintiffs’ allegations and denied the defendants motion to strike the class action allegations. It did grant the defendants demurrer as to the plaintiffs’ state law reimbursement claim without prejudice, allowing the defendants to modify their claim and refile the complaint. The plaintiffs did just that on January 25, 2021.

After several months of discovery and negotiations, the plaintiffs moved for the certification of their class in September of 2021. As of November 2021, that motion remains pending.

The case is ongoing.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 11/20/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
General
Courts
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Juveniles
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Riverside County
Plaintiff Description All parents or guardians who made involuntary and/or voluntary payments for 16 juvenile administrative fees purportedly assessed by Respondents.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Center for Youth Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/01/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Freeman v. County of Riverside
National Center for Youth Law
Date: Sep. 1, 2020
By: National Center for Youth Law
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
State Trial Court
06/01/2020
Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Taxpayer Complaint
CJ-CA-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: Docket Alarm
State Trial Court
01/25/2021
Second Verified Supplemental and Amended Petition for Writ of Mandate; Complaint; and Taxpayer Complaint
CJ-CA-0027-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: Docket Alarm
show all people docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Crystal (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001 | CJ-CA-0027-0002
Gladstone, Elizabeth H (California) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001
Harris, Michael (California) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001 | CJ-CA-0027-0002
Miller, Rebecca Carr (California) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001 | CJ-CA-0027-0002
Prieto, Alexander (California) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001 | CJ-CA-0027-0002
Rothschild, Richard (California) show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0027-0001 | CJ-CA-0027-0002

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