University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Garcia v. Santa Cruz County JC-AZ-0010
Docket / Court 4:08-cv-00139-RCC ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On February 25, 2008, the plaintiff, a pre-arraignment detainee in the Santa Cruz County Jail, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States Court for the District of Arizona, Tucson Division against Santa Cruz County. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked ... read more >
On February 25, 2008, the plaintiff, a pre-arraignment detainee in the Santa Cruz County Jail, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States Court for the District of Arizona, Tucson Division against Santa Cruz County. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive and compensatory relief, claiming violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the blanket policy of strip-searching and cavity searching all pre-arraignment detainees without reasonable suspicion was a violation of the plaintiff's right to due process and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and violated established Supreme Court precedent in Bell v. Wolfish.

Between 2006 and 2008, the plaintiff, the putative class representative, was arrested several times in Santa Cruz County on various minor offenses. Each time, when he was detained in the Santa Cruz County Jail, he was, in the company of other detainees and in full view of others, required to stand naked, lift his genitals, and expose his anus for visual inspection. This was a routine procedure that all detainees at the jail were compelled to undergo.

The class was never certified because the case settled before the defendants and plaintiffs litigated class certification.

On January 15, 2009, the Court (Judge Raner C. Collins) entered an unpublished order approving a stipulated settlement that would dismiss the case with prejudice, after a fairness hearing.

In the Stipulated Settlement Agreement, the County agreed to pay 3.2 million dollars to a fund from which class members could claim damages. The class was described as people who had been subjected to strip and cavity searches without reasonable suspicion in the Santa Cruz County Jail, with the named plaintiff to receive $50,000. Attorney fees were awarded in the amount of $725,000. No injunctive-like provisions were included in the Stipulated Settlement.

The fairness hearing was held on July 13, 2009, and the Court approved the settlement, and dismissed the case the same day. The case has been closed.

Blase Kearney - 07/10/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Santa Cruz County
Plaintiff Description Pre-arraignment detainees in the Santa Cruz County Jail subjected to strip and cavity searches without reasonable suspicion.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
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 ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:08-cv-00139-RCC (D. Ariz.) 07/14/2009
JC-AZ-0010-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 02/25/2008
JC-AZ-0010-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Settlement 06/12/2009
JC-AZ-0010-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Collins, Raner Christercunean (D. Ariz.)
JC-AZ-0010-0002 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dahlstrom, Eric N. (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-0001 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Kaizuka, Joshua (California)
JC-AZ-0010-0001
Merin, Mark E. (California)
JC-AZ-0010-0001 | JC-AZ-0010-0002 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Rothstein, Robert R. (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-0001 | JC-AZ-0010-0002 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Schwartz, Andrew Charles (California)
JC-AZ-0010-0001 | JC-AZ-0010-0002 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Shiel, Michael (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-0001
Williams, Cathleen A. (California)
JC-AZ-0010-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Staton, Georgia (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-0002 | JC-AZ-0010-9000
Wahlin, Lisa S. (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-9000
Yurk, Russell R. (Arizona)
JC-AZ-0010-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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