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Case Name Woodson v. Sully JC-KS-0004
Docket / Court 3:85-cv-03049-JPO ( D. Kan. )
State/Territory Kansas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On February 27, 1985, prisoners of the Wyandotte County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private attorneys, sued the Board of County Commissioners of ... read more >
On February 27, 1985, prisoners of the Wyandotte County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private attorneys, sued the Board of County Commissioners of Wyandotte County, three individual commissioners, and the Sheriff of Wyandotte County. The inmates challenged the conditions of their confinement.

In 1987, the parties negotiated a stipulated consent decree under which a new county jail facility was to be constructed. The decree also created a Jail Population Control Committee to oversee operations of the new jail. The decree was approved by the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (Judge Dale Emerson Saffels) and the jail became operational in 1989. In September of 1992, the Court found that the jail was not operating in compliance with the consent order. Woodson v. Sully, 801 F.Supp. 466 (D.Kan. 1992). It denied the parties' request to remove operational control of the jail from the Sheriff and place it in the hands of an entity called the Jail Control Authority. In October of 1992, the Court appointed a Special Master (the opinion does not mention the name of the Special Master) to oversee the defendants' compliance with the original consent order. Finally, on August 1994, the Court issued its final order, finding the defendants in compliance with the original consent order and also creating the position of Jail Administrator (named J.B. Hopkins).

In December of 2000, the defendants filed Motion to Reopen the case for the limited purposes of seeking temporary orders to require the Sheriff to comply with the original consent order and the authority of the Jail Population Control Committee. The defendants sought two remedies: they wanted to close two of the jail's internal facilities to alleviate staffing issues, and second, they renewed their request to remove the Sheriff from operational control of the jail. Before the court could rule on the motion, the parties settled. They submitted an agreement in 2001 that resolved the closure issue but left outstanding the request to find the Sheriff in contempt and remove him from operation of the Jail. In 2002, the Court heard that issue and denied the motion, finding that nobody other than the Sheriff had the authority over the operations of the County Jail. Woodson v. Green, 191 F.Supp.2d 1231 (D.Kan. 2002).

The docket goes on to describe subsequent procedural motions through 2003, when Magistrate Judge (James P. O'Hara) denied a motion to reopen the case and a motion for a hearing. The government appealed this decision, but on July 25, 2003, the government voluntarily dismissed the appeal.

On July 15, 2011, the government moved to terminate the consent decree. After hearing from the plaintiffs and other defendants, Magistrate Judge James P. O'Hara terminated the consent decree on September 13, 2011.

Rebecca Bloch - 04/18/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 04/02/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Wyandotte County Jail
Plaintiff Description prisoners of the Wyandotte County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1987 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
85-3049 (D. Kan.) 09/13/2011
JC-KS-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Defendants' Fourth Quarterly Report 04/29/1988
JC-KS-0004-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 09/08/1992 (801 F.Supp. 466) (D. Kan.)
JC-KS-0004-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 02/26/2002 (191 F.Supp.2d 1231) (D. Kan.)
JC-KS-0004-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Terminating Consent Decree] 09/13/2011 (D. Kan.)
JC-KS-0004-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges O'Hara, James P. (D. Kan.) [Magistrate]
JC-KS-0004-0004 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Saffels, Dale Emerson (D. Kan.)
JC-KS-0004-0002 | JC-KS-0004-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Morgan, Amy E. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Morris, David R. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0002
Rupp, Anthony F. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Rute, Larry R. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0002
Waxse, David J. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0002
York, Claudia J. (Missouri)
JC-KS-0004-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Bukaty, Steven A.J. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Bullins, Jeffrey A. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-9000
Denk, Daniel B. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Goheen, Gregory P. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Goheen, James R. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0001 | JC-KS-0004-0002
Golden, Gerald (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0002
Logback, Lawrence J. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-9000
Long, Donald C. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0002
McCauley, Sean P. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Nero, Mary M. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-9000
Rau, Jeanne Gorman (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-0001 | JC-KS-0004-0002
Serrano, Paul E. Jr. (Missouri)
JC-KS-0004-0003 | JC-KS-0004-9000
Other Lawyers Duma, John M. (Kansas)
JC-KS-0004-9000

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