University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Sassman v. Brown PC-CA-0067
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-01679-MCE-KJN ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On July 16, 2014, a male prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California government. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the for ... read more >
On July 16, 2014, a male prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California government. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that California's blanket exclusion of male prisoners from the Alternative Custody Program (ACP) violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ACP is a community-based program aimed at reuniting low-level offenders with their families and providing inmates with rehabilitative services within the community. The plaintiff is a male prisoner with two children and an ailing mother with Stage IV colon cancer whom he wished to care for. He filed the lawsuit and requested a preliminary injunction, because he was rejected by CDCR from participating in the program for no other reason than that he is a man.

As originally enacted by the Legislature in 2010, the ACP could have been open to at least some men, although men would still have been required to be "primary caregivers of dependent children ... immediately prior to incarceration" while women applicants faced no such restriction. Nonetheless, when CDCR began offering the ACP in 2011, it limited access to female inmates and excluded all men. The Governor subsequently signed a statutory amendment writing this discrimination into law.

The case is currently ongoing as of August 4, 2014.

Jessica Kincaid - 08/04/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Description A male prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections who was rejected from the Alternative Custody Program because he was male
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-1679 (E.D. Cal.) 07/24/2014
PC-CA-0067-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 07/16/2014
PC-CA-0067-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges England, Morrison C. Jr. (E.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0067-9000
Newman, Kendall J (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0067-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Grunfeld, Gay Crosthwait (California)
PC-CA-0067-0001 | PC-CA-0067-9000
Mantoan, Kathryn Grzenczyk (California)
PC-CA-0067-9000
Swearingen, Richard Van (California)
PC-CA-0067-9000
Thompson, Blake (California)
PC-CA-0067-9000
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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