University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Kennedy v. City of Biloxi CJ-MS-0004
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00348 ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On October 21, 2015, a group of persons charged and jailed for unpaid fines and fees filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The plaintiffs sued the City of Biloxi, including the Chief of the Biloxi Police Department, a part-time judge of ... read more >
On October 21, 2015, a group of persons charged and jailed for unpaid fines and fees filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The plaintiffs sued the City of Biloxi, including the Chief of the Biloxi Police Department, a part-time judge of the Biloxi Municipal Court, and Judicial Correction Services (JCS) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating their 14th Amendment rights. Represented by the ACLU and local counsel, plaintiffs allege that defendant parties operate modern-day debtors’ prison, and within the performance of that scheme the defendants deprived the plaintiffs of their protected rights and liberties. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Almost immediately, the defendants filed a motion to stay proceedings to concentrate on settlement negotiations. On November 3, 2015, the court granted this motion.

On March 7, 2016, Judge Halil S. Ozerden entered a final judgment of dismissal, with Court retaining jurisdiction to enforce the private settlement agreement. On March 15, 2016, the parties officially reached a settlement agreement. As part of this settlement, the City of Biloxi adopted sweeping reforms and policy changes. These include: no longer contracting with for-profit probation companies; adoption of new court procedures and training for city officials on the new procedures; the establishment of full-time public defender office to represent indigent people; and judicial consideration of a person's ability to pay fines at sentencing.

The court retains jurisdiction over this case for three years. On September 13, 2016, the City of Biloxi filed a status report on the implementation of the settlement agreement.

Ian Sander - 10/02/2016


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Training
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Pattern or Practice
Placement in detention facilities
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Biloxi, MI
Plaintiff Description Persons charged and jailed for unpaid fines and fees.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2016 - 2019
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:15-cv-00348-HSO-JCG (S.D. Miss.) 09/13/2016
CJ-MS-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/21/2015
CJ-MS-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Stipulated Settlement Agreement 03/15/2016
CJ-MS-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Status Report on Stipulated Settlement Agreement 09/13/2016
CJ-MS-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gargiulo, John C. Court not on record [Magistrate]
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Ozerden, Halil Suleyman (S.D. Miss.)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Choudhury, Nusrat Jahan (New York)
CJ-MS-0004-0001 | CJ-MS-0004-0003 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Irvin, Charles Baron (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-0001 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Parker, Dennis D. (New York)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Simon, Anthony R (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-0001 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Teeuwissen, Pieter (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-0001 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blessey, Gerlad H. (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-0002 | CJ-MS-0004-0003 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Gunn, Corban (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-0003 | CJ-MS-0004-9000
Jackson, Michael Leon (Alabama)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Logsdon, Larry Stephen (Alabama)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
McKnight, Thomas A. Jr. (Alabama)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Steel, Tere R. (Mississippi)
CJ-MS-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -