University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In the Interest of F.N. and F.N. and B.S. JI-CO-0002
Docket / Court 93JD1440 ( State Court )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Case Summary
On October 8, 1993 a juvenile in Colorado was arrested for possession of a handgun and held without bail. In his defense, he filed a Motion to declare Colorado Revised Statue § 19-2-204(3)(a)(III) unconstitutional in the Juvenile Court. The plaintiff, represented by unknown counsel, asked the ... read more >
On October 8, 1993 a juvenile in Colorado was arrested for possession of a handgun and held without bail. In his defense, he filed a Motion to declare Colorado Revised Statue § 19-2-204(3)(a)(III) unconstitutional in the Juvenile Court. The plaintiff, represented by unknown counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that his detention violated Colorado and Federal law. Specifically, the plaintiff contended that his arrest and detention was punishment for a status offense in violation of Colorado's Children's Code, and the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA); that his detention without bond at the Gilliam Youth Center (GYC) and Arapahoe County Jail (ACJ) was in violation due to overcrowding, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and the joint detention of adults and juveniles at ACJ; and that the rebuttable presumption of danger allowing detention without bail, which was amended to § 19-2-204, violated the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On November 24, 1993, the Juvenile Court of the City and County of Denver (Judge David E. Ramirez) held in favor of the plaintiff. The Court found that the statute authorizing plaintiff's arrest created a status offense, because it was limited to juveniles, and did not apply to adults performing the same conduct. The detention of status offenders in secured facilities such as ACJ violates the JJDPA. 42 U.S.C. § 5633(a)(12)(A). Additionally the Court found that due to the unsanitary and overcrowded nature of detention, GYC and ACJ were punitive facilities, not protective ones, and the holding of pre-trial detainees without bail was in violation of state and federal due process rights. Finally, the court found that the rebuttable presumption of § 19-2-204 was unconstitutional; specifically the statute presumed danger to self or others when a juvenile was arrested for possession of a firearm, and allowed the juvenile to be held without bond unless he could overcome the presumption. The Court did not find any Equal Protection violations in the disproportionate amount of minorities detained pursuant to § 19-2-204. The Court held that the amendment that created the rebuttable presumption in § 19-2-204 was unconstitutional and must be severed from the statute; that incarceration of juveniles as status offenders violated Colorado law as well as the JJDPA, even after severance of the amendment to § 19-2-204; and that juveniles had a constitutional right to bail. The Court (Judge Ramirez) ordered the Plaintiff released on a $1,000 bond. It issued no specific orders for other juveniles similarly situated, but left open the possibility of similar actions in juvenile courts or federal courts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The prohibition of making public the identity of the juvenile plaintiff was reaffirmed and continued.

Because PACER has no docket for this state case, we have no more information on this file.

Greg Venker - 05/29/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Juvenile Justice Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5672
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Colorado Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Arrested juvenile for felony menacing and illegal possession of a handgun by a minor petitioning to declare a Colorado law unconstitutional
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1993 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1993
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order 11/24/1993
JI-CO-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Findings & Order 11/24/1993
JI-CO-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Ramirez, David E. Court not on record
JI-CO-0002-0001 | JI-CO-0002-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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