University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DeVonish v. Garza JC-TX-0002
Docket / Court 73-CA-59 ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In 1973, an inmate filed an action against officials at the Bexar County Jail in Texas alleging unconstitutional jail conditions. After several other inmates filed similar actions, the district court for the Western District of Texas (Chief Judge William Steele Sessions) consolidated the cases, ... read more >
In 1973, an inmate filed an action against officials at the Bexar County Jail in Texas alleging unconstitutional jail conditions. After several other inmates filed similar actions, the district court for the Western District of Texas (Chief Judge William Steele Sessions) consolidated the cases, directed the United States to appear as a litigating Amicus Curiae, and certified plaintiffs' class. In 1980, defendants moved to dismiss the United States or to require compliance with the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. section 1997 et seq., which Congress enacted after the court named the United States as a party to the case. The court denied defendants' motion. DeVonish v. Garza, 510 F. Supp. 658 (W.D. Tex. 1981).

In the early 1980s, the court entered a consent decree that required defendants to ensure life safety and personal hygiene, fix environmental deficiencies, reduce jail population, protect inmates from harm, increase staff training and supervision, implement policies and procedures to increase medical care, and provide recreational opportunities for inmates. The consent decree was still in effect in 1986, when a different plaintiff in Bexar County Jail filed suit against county officials and claimed that they were in violation of the DeVonish consent decree (the court ultimately disagreed with plaintiff). Gill v. Neaves, 1986 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21879 (W.D. Tex. 1986). The docket for this case is not available on PACER, so we have no subsequent information.

Lauren Cutson - 05/26/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Disciplinary procedures
Recreation / Exercise
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Bexar County Jail
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are inmates at the Bexar County Jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - 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 ]

  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Written: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order 03/10/1981 (510 F.Supp. 658) (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Decree on Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 06/01/1981 (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Sessions, Clarence W. (W.D. Mich.)
JC-TX-0002-0003
Sessions, William K. III (D. Vt.)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Benbow, John W. (Texas)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Campion, Charles (Texas)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Duke, Lonnie W. (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Goldstein, Gerald H. (New York)
JC-TX-0002-0002 | JC-TX-0002-0003
Mendelsohn, Les (Texas)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Burris, Keith W. (Texas)
JC-TX-0002-0002 | JC-TX-0002-0003 | JC-TX-0002-0003
Hodge, Michael P. (Texas)
JC-TX-0002-0002
Other Lawyers Berlin, Steven B. (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0002-0003 | JC-TX-0002-0003
Littlefield, Patricia Gail (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0002-0003

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