University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Harris v. Bell JI-MO-0003
Docket / Court 73-CV-115-W-4 ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Case Summary
Deplorable conditions at the State Board of Training Schools Facility in Booneville, Missouri (hereinafter T.S.B.) incited plaintiff Fredericka Harris to file a lawsuit in August 1973 against the Superintendent of T.S.B. on behalf of her minor son, Lavon Harris, and other residents of T.S.B. ... read more >
Deplorable conditions at the State Board of Training Schools Facility in Booneville, Missouri (hereinafter T.S.B.) incited plaintiff Fredericka Harris to file a lawsuit in August 1973 against the Superintendent of T.S.B. on behalf of her minor son, Lavon Harris, and other residents of T.S.B. similarly situated. Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, Ms. Harris' complaint was in regard to the use and conditions of eighteen cells on the second and third floors of T.S.B. The plaintiff was represented by the National Juvenile Law Center at St. Louis University School of Law and private counsel.

The cells were used as maximum-security confinement units to segregate certain juveniles from the general T.S.B. population for disciplinary purposes. Only 6'6'' wide, the cells were dimly lit, lacked ventilation and were filthy. Inmates were denied recreation, exercise, religious services, necessities (soap, towels, etc.) and daily showers.

The Court (Judge Elmo Hunter) ordered the parties to negotiate, but negotiations broke down in 1974 due to a government reorganization. On September 5, 1974, the Court substituted and dismissed appropriate parties and negotiations resumed.

On September 8, 1975, the Court (Judge Hunter) approved a consent decree between the parties whereby the defendant agreed to twenty provisions set forth by the plaintiff. Harris v. Bell, 402 F. Supp. 469 (W.D. Mo. 1975). The decree provided that conditions and provisions of the incarceration units be brought into compliance with constitutional standards, including affording accused juveniles with due process before an impartial panel of staff-members, as well as setting the maximum time for incarceration in the units at seven days.

We have no further information about this case.

Stacey Jensen - 05/17/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bathing and hygiene
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Education
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Library (non-law) access
Mail
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Sanitation / living conditions
Search policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Missouri
Training School for Boys in Boonville
Plaintiff Description Juveniles at the State Board of Training Schools facility in Booneville, Missouri
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 1975 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Consent Decree 01/01/1975 (W.D. Mo.)
JI-MO-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Stipulations of Fact 09/08/1975 (402 F.Supp. 469) (W.D. Mo.)
JI-MO-0003-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Hunter, Elmo Bolton (W.D. Mo.)
JI-MO-0003-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fleming, Anne K. (Missouri)
JI-MO-0003-0001 | JI-MO-0003-0002
Schiller, Wendy W. (Missouri)
JI-MO-0003-0001 | JI-MO-0003-0002
Spiller, Dudley P. (Missouri)
JI-MO-0003-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Dean, Preston (Missouri)
JI-MO-0003-0001 | JI-MO-0003-0002 | JI-MO-0003-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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