University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Department of Justice agreement re. Shelby County Juvenile Court CJ-TN-0006
Docket / Court NA ( No Court )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On August 11, 2009, the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") began an investigation of the administration of juvenile justice for children facing delinquency charges before the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County ("JCMSC") and the conditions of confinement at ... read more >
On August 11, 2009, the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") began an investigation of the administration of juvenile justice for children facing delinquency charges before the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County ("JCMSC") and the conditions of confinement at the detention center operated by JCMSC. The investigation was conducted pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. In its April 26, 2012 findings report, the DOJ concluded that JCMSC failed to protect the rights of children appearing before it on delinquency matters by neglecting to (1) provide constitutionally required due process, (2) administer justice in a non-discriminatory manner, and (3) provide reasonably safe conditions of confinement.

JCMSC processes more than 11,000 delinquency matters each year that arise in the city of Memphis and other communities in Shelby County, Tennessee. The DOJ investigation included a comprehensive review of JCMSC's policies and practices, including observing delinquency hearings; reviewing documents, case files, and statistical data; and interviewing court personnel, probation counselors, detained youths, and attorneys. The DOJ ultimately concluded that JCMSC failed to provide timely and adequate notice of charges to children appearing on delinquency matters; failed to protect children from self-incrimination during probation conferences; failed to hold timely probable cause hearings; and failed to provide adequate due process protections before transferring children to adult criminal court. The DOJ also concluded that JCMSC administered justice in a discriminatory manner and that black children were disproportionately represented in almost every phase of the Shelby County juvenile justice system. Finally, the DOJ concluded that JCMSC used dangerous and excessive restraint techniques to detain children. Rather than diverting children or releasing them to a parent or guardian, JCMSC subjected children to dangerous and excessive restraint chair techniques and pressure point control tactics and failed to protect them from self-harm.

On December 17, 2012, the parties entered a settlement agreement. The agreement mandated that JCMSC immediately develop and implement specific policies and training and review mechanisms to guarantee due process and equal protection and to ensure reasonably safe conditions of confinement. Two monitors and a facility consultant were appointed to assess compliance with the settlement agreement. The parties agreed that these individuals would conduct compliance reviews four months after the date of the agreement and every six months thereafter until the agreement was terminated. The parties agreed that the agreement would terminate when JCMSC achieved substantial compliance with all substantive provisions of the agreement and maintained that compliance for 12 consecutive months. To date, the monitors and consultant have issued three reports, in June 2013, December 2013, and June 2014, respectively. The most recent reports indicated progress and compliance with certain terms of the agreement but also indicated areas that continue to require attention and improvement by the juvenile court. As of the writing of this summary, the agreement has not been terminated.

Nate West - 11/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Hire
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Disparate Treatment
Failure to train
Juveniles
Placement in detention facilities
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Shelby County, Tennessee
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Success in Shelby County: A Roadmap to Systemic Juvenile Reform
By: Sandra Simkins (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Camden)
Citation: University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2014
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Findings Cover Letter (2012) 04/25/2012
CJ-TN-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Findings Report (2012) 04/26/2012
CJ-TN-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum of Agreement (2012) 12/17/2012
CJ-TN-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Shelby County Press Release 12/18/2012
CJ-TN-0006-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
First Report of the Due Process Monitor (2013) 06/05/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Chart for First Report of the Due Process Monitor (2013) 06/05/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
First Report of the Facility Consultant (2013) 06/10/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
First Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2013) 06/12/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix to First Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2013) 06/12/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Cover Letter to Judge Curtis Person Regarding the First Facility Consultant Report (2013) 06/13/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Second Report of the Due Process Monitor (2013) 12/12/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Second Report of the Facility Consultant (2013) 12/30/2013
CJ-TN-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Second Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2014) 01/15/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment Study for the Second Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2014) 01/15/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Third Report of the Facility Consultant (2014) 06/13/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Third Report of the Due Process Monitor (2014) 06/16/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Third Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2014) 06/24/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment Study for the Third Report of the Equal Protection Monitor (2014) 06/24/2014
CJ-TN-0006-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Gayle, Winsome (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0001 | CJ-TN-0006-0003
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003 | CJ-TN-0006-0007
Stanton, Edward L. III (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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