On April 18, 1994, criminal defense attorneys who represent inmates confined in the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro, Oregon, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the county under 42 U.S.C. §1983 requesting that the county provide them with adequate and ...
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On April 18, 1994, criminal defense attorneys who represent inmates confined in the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro, Oregon, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against the county under 42 U.S.C. §1983 requesting that the county provide them with adequate and private space in which they could confer with their clients at the jail. The plaintiffs alleged that the use of the space available to them for client consultation violated their rights to practice their profession according to the highest standards under the Fourteenth Amendment, violated their First Amendment rights to free speech, and violated their clients' right to counsel by inhibiting full and free communication. The conditions of attorney-client communication was alleged to be unconstitutional because male inmates had to sit close to one another in their second floor interview room, allowing inmate statements in a normal conversational tone to be overheard by other inmates in the room. Also, the third floor interview room for female inmates contained a window that opened at the bottom directly into the corrections staff office. The window was located three feet from where the attorney sits, permitting corrections staff to eavesdrop at will.
On July 1, 1994, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon (Judge Helen J. Frye) ordered the criminal defense attorneys to attempt to resolve the issues of inadequate communication in the context of actions filed by criminal defendants themselves raising the same issues. Steinke v. Washington County, 857 F.Supp. 55 (D.Or. 1994). Judge Frye referred to the consent decrees in Jungwirth v. Barnes, No. 83-634 (JC-OR-005), regarding male inmates at the Washington County Jail, and Davis v. Friese, No. 83-1272 (JC-OR-004), regarding female inmates at the jail. The court noted that the decrees in those cases included provisions specifically addressing the issue of adequate space for confidential attorney-client conferences. Accordingly, Judge Frye transferred this case to Judge James A. Redden, who was assigned to Jungwirth, for further action consistent with his continued jurisdiction in the Jungwirth case.
Judge Redden entered a consent decree on June 28, 1995, in which Washington County agreed to soundproof the interview rooms and to obtain more space in the jail for private consultations. On September 8, 1995, Judge Redden held that the criminal defense attorneys were entitled to a fee award under 42 U.S.C. §1988 as a prevailing party. Steinke v. Washington County, 903 F.Supp. 1403 (D.Or. 1995). The criminal defense attorneys had achieved prevailing party status as a result of the consent decree entered in the case that increased the privacy that is necessary for attorney-client consultations.
The attorney's fee issue is the last substantive entry in the docket; the docket concludes with a notation dated July 20, 1998, that the case file was sent to the Federal Records Center.Kristen Sagar - 06/30/2009