University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Pierce v. City of Velda City CJ-MO-0007
Docket / Court 4:15-cv-00570 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Attorney Organization Equal Justice Under Law
Case Summary
On April 2, 2015, a pretrial detainee filed this class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Velda City, Missouri. The plaintiff, represented by Equal Justice Under Law and local public interest counsel, sought declaratory, ... read more >
On April 2, 2015, a pretrial detainee filed this class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Velda City, Missouri. The plaintiff, represented by Equal Justice Under Law and local public interest counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory relief, claiming that the City's bail system was unconstitutional. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the City's policy and practice of detaining arrestees for at least three days unless they pay a generically set bond amount violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

That same day, the plaintiff sought a preliminary order enjoining the City from keeping her and those similarly situated in jail without offering release on unsecured bond or recognizance. The plaintiff also moved to certify a class of all arrestees unable to pay for their release pursuant to Velda City's fixed bail schedule who are or who will become in the custody of the City.

On June 2, 2015, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, under which the City agreed to end the use of the challenged cash bond system. The parties asked the District Court (Judge Henry Edward Autrey) to issue an injunction effectuating the terms of the agreement. The parties also asked the court to enter a declaratory judgment affirming that holding an arrestee in custody because the person is too poor to post a monetary bond violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court signed the proposed order on June 3, 2015.

As of October 13, 2015, the case is ongoing, as the District Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the injunction.

Robert Lake - 10/13/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Over/Unlawful Detention
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The City of Velda City
Plaintiff Description Pretrial detainee in Velda City, MO jail, individually and on behalf of a putative class of those similarly-situated
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Equal Justice Under Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:15−cv−00570−HEA (E.D. Mo.) 06/03/2015
CJ-MO-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 04/02/2015
CJ-MO-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/03/2015 (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Autrey, Henry Edward (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0007-0002 | CJ-MO-0007-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Harvey, Thomas B. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0007-0001 | CJ-MO-0007-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-MO-0007-0001 | CJ-MO-0007-9000
Voss, Michael-John (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0007-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Garrett, Steven W. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0007-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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