On January 2, 1983, juveniles filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794), challenging their conditions of confinement at the juvenile facilities in the State of Florida. Those facilities included the McPherson Training School in Ocala, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys at Okeechobee, subsequently renamed the Eckerd Youth Development Center.
Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys for the ACLU National Prison Project, the Youth Law Center and the Southern Legal Counsel. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
Following several years of litigation and improvements to the Florida juvenile justice system, the parties entered into a Consent Decree to resolve all claims. The Consent Decree, which was approved by the District Court (Judge Maurice M. Paul) on July 7, 1987, set forth agreed reforms to be implemented in the following areas: assessment, evaluation and placement of juveniles; education; attorney client access; and prohibition of isolation. The Decree also incorporated previous orders that had been entered by the District Court, as follows:
1. provision of access to counsel (order on stipulated motion in 1987);
2. prohibition against hogtying and shackling to fixed objects, and regulating the use of mechanical restraints (orders dated February 1, 1983 and July 14, 1983);
3. closure of McPherson Training School (order dated August 6, 1985);
4. removal of females from training schools (order dated August 6, 1985);
5. removal of all children 13 years of age and under from training schools (order dated August 6, 1985); and
6. removal of all status offenders from training schools (order dated August 6, 1985).
Following entry of the Decree, the case was then administratively closed. Monitoring of the implementation process continued for years.
On October 29, 1995, the District Court (Judge Maurice M. Paul) terminated the Consent Decree as to the Dozier Training School. The Decree remained in effect as to the Eckerd Youth Development Center. Bobby M. v. Chiles, 907 F.Supp. 368 (N.D.Fla. 1995). On November 6, 1996, portions of the consent decree relating to ECKERD Youth Development Center were also terminated.
Thereafter, the parties litigated the issue of liability for post-judgment attorney fees and related expenses. On April 1, 1999, the District Court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs for attorneys' fees in the amount of $182,912.19, plus costs in the amount of $10,724.90. Defendants appealed. While the case was on appeal, the parties settled the issue of fees and costs.
On May 10, 2000, the District Court (Judge Maurice M. Paul) granted defendants' motion to dismiss the remaining claims and the case was closed. We have no further information on the case.Dan Dalton - 02/26/2007