University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Waters v. Woodford JI-CA-0016
Docket / Court 06-451449 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
On April 19, 2006, a taxpayer filed a complaint in the San Francisco County, California, Superior Court naming, as defendants, the members of the Correctional Standards Authority ("CSA") of the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff sought declaratory relief and to ... read more >
On April 19, 2006, a taxpayer filed a complaint in the San Francisco County, California, Superior Court naming, as defendants, the members of the Correctional Standards Authority ("CSA") of the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff sought declaratory relief and to enjoin expenditure of public funds for alleged illegal conduct, in that the CSA allegedly failed to perform its statutory duty to inspect county juvenile halls and a camps and to declare unsuitable for the confinement of minors those facilities which are overcrowded, unsafe or otherwise fail to meet state-mandated standards. Plaintiff had private counsel, including attorneys from a large firm and from the Prison Law Office, both of whom were also involved as plaintiffs' counsel in similar California cases, Farrell v. Harper, Hixon v. Hope, and Porter v. Speirs (cases JI-CA-13, JI-CA-14 and JI-CA-15, respectively, in this database).

The complaint alleged that the CSA "utterly fails" to fulfill its' statutory duties. While acknowledging that the CSA sometimes identifies conditions that violate state minimum standards, the complaint alleged that the CSA did not take steps required by law following the identification of deficiencies, such as notifying counties that they are in violation, requiring a facility to develop and file a Corrective Action Plan to remedy the violation(s), and issuing findings that a county facility is "unsuitable for the confinement of minors." The complaint alleged that overcrowding at juvenile facilities often resulted not in an unsuitability finding but, instead, in the filing of a "Suitability Plan" which merely raised the population capacity for the facility without any physical changes occurring. Substandard conditions set out in the complaint included those allegedly existing at Los Angeles, Alameda, Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, San Joaquin, Tulare, and Santa Barbara counties' juvenile facilities. The complaint noted that the U.S. Department of Justice and the presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court had examined juvenile facilities in that county in recent years and noted substantial violations in the county's juvenile facilities, and yet the CSA did not act upon those findings, permitting the deficient conditions to continue.

Numerous categories in which the counties' juvenile halls and camps, as operated, allegedly failed to meet state statutory standards included inadequate physical safety; filthy and overcrowded living conditions far from statutorily-mandated "homelike conditions;" lack of educational and rehabilitative programs; inadequate medical and mental health care; and lack of accommodations for those with physical or mental disabilities. Citing numerous provisions of the state's constitution and statutes, the plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and for the court to retain jurisdiction over the case until it found sufficient compliance by the defendants with remedial orders plaintiff sought.

We have no further information about activity in the case, other than a docket sheet indication that the case was assigned to Judge Arlene T. Borick; however, a June 2007, legislative proposal (S.B. 518) in the California Assembly to create a youth bill of rights for juveniles within state prisons or juvenile facilities mentions that serious allegations of substandard conditions for juvenile wards have been made in several pending cases, including this one. A copy of a legislative analysis of the proposed bill is in this database, filed with case JI-CA-15.

Mike Fagan - 05/20/2008

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Bathing and hygiene
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Corrections Standards Authority
Plaintiff Description Taxpayers who bring this action to enjoin expenditure of funds to promulgate, administer, and enforce the CSA's illegal policies, practices, and procedures
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Filed 04/19/2006
Case Ongoing Unknown
Court Docket(s)
State Trial Court
JI-CA-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
State Trial Court
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief
JI-CA-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
show all people docs
Judges Borick, Arlene T. Court not on record show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Agarwal, Monty (California) show/hide docs
Chavez, Mark A. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0016-0001 | JI-CA-0016-9000
Dupree, Renee (California) show/hide docs
Farzan , Farschad (California) show/hide docs
George, Warren E. Jr. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0016-0001 | JI-CA-0016-9000
Keith, Traci M. (California) show/hide docs
Lee, Belinda S. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0016-0001 | JI-CA-0016-9000
Norgaard, Vibeke (California) show/hide docs
Norman, Sara Linda (California) show/hide docs
Palamountain, Kathryn C. (California) show/hide docs
Park, Ju Y. (California) show/hide docs
Specter, Donald H. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0016-0001 | JI-CA-0016-9000
Ulmer, Richard Jr. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0016-0001 | JI-CA-0016-9000
Wang, Philip J. (California) show/hide docs

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