University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Terry v. Hill JC-AR-0003
Docket / Court 4:01-cv-00458-WRW ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On July 7, 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed suit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Director of the Arkansas Division of Mental Health Services and the Sheriff of Sebastian County Jail, for violation of ... read more >
On July 7, 2001, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed suit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Director of the Arkansas Division of Mental Health Services and the Sheriff of Sebastian County Jail, for violation of an inmate's due process rights to mental illness treatment of a pretrial detainee with a history of serious mental illness. The inmate was held in pretrial detention without a date set for trial while his mental condition deteriorated. He remained in jail fully seven months after a forensic psychologist found him incompetent to stand trial and recommended he be committed to the Arkansas State Hospital (ASH).

Upon investigating the detainee's case, the ASH admission delay problem was discovered to involve over 100 prisoners. On November 9, 2001, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas (Judge Stephen M. Reasoner) certified a class of all pretrial detainees who had been ordered to ASH for forensic mental evaluation and those committed to ASH to restore their mental competency. On May 6, 2002, the class action was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Deputy Director of the Division of Mental Health Services, alleging that defendants violated the rights of these mentally ill pretrial detainees by failing to timely order mental health evaluations or to have detainees be promptly admitted to the Arkansas State Hospital (ASH) according to the urgency of their mental health needs. The Court found that the State had a duty to provide for the support of the mentally ill and that ASH had a duty to provide evaluation and treatment to jail inmates. The Court found for the plaintiffs on the issue of liability, finding specifically that the admission waiting period was so delayed that it amounted to a violation of plaintiffs' constitutional rights to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. It then ordered a subsequent hearing date to address the appropriate remedy. Terry v. Hill et al., 232 F.Supp.2d 934 (E.D.Ark. 2002). After two years of proposed settlements, objections, substitutions of judges and counsel, proceedings for attorneys' fees and costs, the final settlement order was approved by the Court on September 13, 2004 and the case was administratively terminated without prejudice to the right of the parties to reopen for good cause shown.

Rebecca Bloch - 03/01/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State Mental Health Services
Plaintiff Description pretrial detainees who had been ordered to ASH for forensic mental evaluation and those committed to ASH to restore their mental competency
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Docket(s)
01-cv-00458-WRW (E.D. Ark.) 09/30/2004
JC-AR-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion 05/06/2002 (232 F.Supp.2d 934) (E.D. Ark.)
JC-AR-0003-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Reasoner, Stephen M. (E.D. Ark.)
JC-AR-0003-0001
Wilson, Billy Roy (E.D. Ark.)
JC-AR-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brownstein, Bettina E. (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-0001 | JC-AR-0003-9000
James, Paul Joseph (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fuqua, David M. (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-0001
Rainwater, Michael R. (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-9000
Sexton, Robert M. (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-9000
Thalheimer, Lee S. (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-9000
Wills, Frank J. III (Arkansas)
JC-AR-0003-0001 | JC-AR-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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