University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. King County, Washington JC-WA-0006
Docket / Court 2:09-cv-00059 ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In October 2006, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the King County Correctional Facility ("KCCF"). ... read more >
In October 2006, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the conditions of confinement at the King County Correctional Facility ("KCCF"). During the course of this investigation, the DOJ conducted on-site inspections of the jail, held interviews with staff and prisoners, and reviewed numerous documents (including jail policies and procedures, incident reports, investigative reports, prisoner grievances, and staff personnel files).

Upon completing its investigation, the DOJ issued a November 13, 2007 findings letter concluding that certain conditions at the jail violated the constitutional rights of prisoners. In particular, the DOJ found that prisoners were not adequately protected from harm in that they were at risk of physical attacks from inmates, the exercise of excessive force by staff, exposure to custodial sexual misconduct, and suicide. The DOJ also concluded that prisoners did not receive adequate medical care. In addition to listing the constitutional inadequacies, the findings letter also outlined numerous remedial measures which it suggested ought to be implemented at the jail in order to remedy these inadequacies.

On January 14, 2009, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington under CRIPA, 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against King County to enjoin the County from depriving prisoners in KCCF of their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The United States argued that the County failed to protect prisoners at KCCF from serious physical harm, custodial sexual misconduct, and self inflicted harm, and failed to provide adequate medical care.

On February 26, 2009, Judge Richard A. Jones issued an order granting the parties' joint motion for conditional dismissal, with two conditions. First, King County was ordered to comply with the terms agreed to by the parties in a memorandum of agreement. Second, the United States was permitted, for three years, to seek relief if King County failed to comply with the stipulated terms.

Dan Dalton - 11/30/2007
Nate West - 10/16/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Failure to supervise
Grievance Procedures
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) King County
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Conditional Dismissal
Order Duration 2009 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2009
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 ]

  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Written: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:09-cv-00059 (W.D. Wash.) 08/13/2009
JC-WA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
RE: King County Correctional Facility, Seattle, Washington 11/13/2007
JC-WA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Complaint 01/14/2009
JC-WA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Conditional Dismissal 01/15/2009
JC-WA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/26/2009 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jones, Richard A. (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0006-0003 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-0004
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002
Comisac, Rena J. (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0001
Delaney, Joshua (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Harris, Kelly L. (Washington)
JC-WA-0006-0001 | JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-0004 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Mazor, Marina (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Murphy, Amie S. (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Sullivan, Jeffrey C. (Washington)
JC-WA-0006-0001 | JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-0004 | JC-WA-0006-9000 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Weiss, Daniel H. (District of Columbia)
JC-WA-0006-0002 | JC-WA-0006-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Gerberding, John M. (Washington)
JC-WA-0006-0004 | JC-WA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Satterberg, Dan (Washington)
JC-WA-0006-0001

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