University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Carden v. Town of Harpersville CJ-AL-0025
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-01381 ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Case Summary
This case is a follow on case to Burdette v. Town of Harpersville, Alabama (CJ-AL-0005). That was a class action case in Alabama state court in which people were "supervised" by the private probation company Judicial ... read more >
This case is a follow on case to Burdette v. Town of Harpersville, Alabama (CJ-AL-0005). That was a class action case in Alabama state court in which people were "supervised" by the private probation company Judicial Correctional Services, Inc., (JCS) at the behest of the Harpersville Municipal court. The plaintiffs challenged JSC's exorbitant fees and practice of jailing people who were unable to pay them. The case resulted in a temporary restraining order, the abolition of the municipal court, and the cancellation of the town's contract with JCS.

On August 14, 2015, after the Burdette litigation finished, a woman who had been fined by the Harpersville Municipal Court and "supervised" by JCS filed this putatitve class action lawsuit against the City in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The plaintiff was represented by private counsel, and the case was assigned to District Judge R. David Proctor. The plaintiff, bringing suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgement Act (28 U.S.C. § 2201), claimed that the City's actions violated her Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as Alabama state law. She requested declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, and attorneys' fees. Soon after the case began, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint adding JCS as a defendant

After several years of litigation, which included multiple amendments to the plaintiff's complaint and motions to dismiss by the defendants, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the case on May 18, 2018. It appears from the docket that named plaintiff—and possibly others—were able to reach a monetary settlement with the City. The case is now closed.

Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 11/17/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Excessive bail/fines
Unreasonable search and seizure
General
Courts
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Over/Unlawful Detention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Judicial Corrections Services
Town of Harpersville
Plaintiff Description All individuals who have been assigned by the Harpersville Municipal Court to “probation” with Judicial Correction Services (JCS) for the collection of fines. All individuals who, despite their indigency, were incarcerated without consideration of their indigency for failure to pay fines, charges and fees to Harpersville.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Mooted before ruling
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Filed 08/14/2015
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing CJ-AL-0005 : Burdette v. Town of Harpersville, Alabama (State Court)
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection

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