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Case Name Luse v. Sentinel Offender Services CJ-GA-0013
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-00030-RWS ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Attorney Organization Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On February 17, 2016, two women on probation in White County, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, sued the private probation company Sentinel Offender Services (Sentinel) in a class action in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Georgia law. The ... read more >
On February 17, 2016, two women on probation in White County, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, sued the private probation company Sentinel Offender Services (Sentinel) in a class action in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Georgia law. The plaintiffs claimed that they were forced by Sentinel to submit to, and pay for, unauthorized urine sample drug tests in violation of their due process and privacy rights, and right against unreasonable seizure. The plaintiffs also challenged Sentinel’s practice of coercing payments with false threats of immediate incarceration, charging that this practice constituted conversion [O.C.G.A. § 51-10-1], fraud, and tortious coercion. They requested monetary, injunctive, and declarative relief.

Both of the plaintiffs had pled guilty to traffic violations in White County Probate Court and were placed on probation. In neither case did the judge order drug testing. When the county’s probation contractor, Sentinel, drug tested the plaintiffs, it did not go back to the judge and obtain an order for any of the nine tests conducted. To complete the tests, the women were required to urinate in plain view of a Sentinel officer.

Plaintiff Luse claimed that she did not have the available funds ($60 in total) to pay for the drug tests, but was forced to borrow money from relatives after Sentinel officer Stacey McDowell-Black threatened that she would report Luse to the County to have her incarcerated. Plaintiff Ligocki similarly refused to submit to the tests initially, but eventually submitted to five tests ($95) after a similar threat from McDowell-Black. At no point were the plaintiffs able to challenge the legality of paying for and submitting to the tests.

As of March 30, 2016, class certification is currently pending.

Dan Hofman - 03/30/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
General
Forfeiture
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Sentinel Offender Services, LLC
Stacy McDowell-Black
Plaintiff Description Women on probation in White County, Georgia who were required to submit urine sample drug tests not ordered by a court.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:16-cv-30 (N.D. Ga.) 03/25/2016
CJ-GA-0013-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 02/17/2016
CJ-GA-0013-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Story, Richard W. (N.D. Ga.)
CJ-GA-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0013-0001 | CJ-GA-0013-9000
Primerano, Ryan (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0013-0001 | CJ-GA-0013-9000
Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0013-0001 | CJ-GA-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gray, Harvey Scott (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0013-9000
St. Amand, Michael D. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0013-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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