University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Presley v. Epps PC-MS-0005
Docket / Court 4:05-cv-00148-JAD ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Solitary confinement
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On June 22, 2005, attorneys for the local ACLU and the ACLU National Prison Project filed a class-action § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on behalf of inmates confined in Unit 32 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. The ... read more >
On June 22, 2005, attorneys for the local ACLU and the ACLU National Prison Project filed a class-action § 1983 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on behalf of inmates confined in Unit 32 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. The lawsuit alleged dangerous and inhumane conditions of confinement in Unit 32, a "supermax" facility operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). The plaintiffs immediately moved for class certification.

The MDOC was already operating under an injunction issued in Russell v. Johnson, PC-MS-0003 in this Clearinghouse, which concerned conditions of confinement and medical and mental health treatment for the subclass of death row prisoners confined to Unit 32. Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis, who oversaw the Russell case, urged the parties to discuss settlement. Following protracted negotiations, the parties reached a settlement of the issues in the form of a proposed consent decree. After a fairness hearing on April 28, 2006, Judge Davis formally approved the settlement.

The consent decree called for the MDOC to make many changes to the conditions of confinement for non-death row inmates of Unit 32, including compliance with the ACA Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions (4th Ed.) and with the essential National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) Standards for Health Services in Prison (2003).

Following the entry of the consent decree, the plaintiffs began monitoring the implementation process. Experts employed by the plaintiffs, Dr. John Robertson (medical expert) and Dr. Terry Kupers (mental health expert), conducted an audit of the medical and mental health services in Unit 32. The experts identified continuing deficiencies which they believed warranted urgent correction. The plaintiffs filed a motion for contempt on November 21, 2006, seeking an order to compel defendants to immediately comply with the medical and mental health care provisions of the consent decree.

On April 4, 2007, Judge Davis called the case for an evidentiary hearing on the plaintiffs' motion to compel. Before the hearing began, the State agreed to entry of a supplemental consent decree on medical care. The hearing went forward on the plaintiffs' contentions that mentally ill prisoners were still being denied basic psychiatric care and routinely subjected to excessive force and abuse. The hearing was adjourned and the parties were directed to discuss settlement of the remaining issues.

The case was reset for a settlement conference and continuation of the contempt hearing on November 15, 2007. Following that conference, the parties arrived at a supplemental consent decree on mental health care, use of force, and classification, which supplemented the original consent decree entered April 28, 2006 and the supplemental consent decree on medical care entered April 16, 2007. On November 15, 2007, the parties entered into another supplemental consent decree on mental health care, use of force, and classification.

On September 16, 2008, Judge Davis denied the plaintiffs' motions for discovery and attorneys' fees as moot.

On August 2, 2010, Judge Davis ordered the case dismissed without prejudice by agreement of the parties. The defendants agreed to close Unit 32, transfer the entire population of Unit 32 to other facilities over the course of the next several months, move all seriously mentally ill prisoners to MDOC's mental health facility in Meridian, MS and remedy the inadequate medical and mental health care in Unit 32 so long as any prisoners remain there. As part of the agreement, the ACLU would also monitor during the next year the medical and mental health care provided at all of the facilities in the state to which Unit 32 prisoners were transferred to ensure they meet constitutional requirements.

On November 12, 2010, Judge Davis denied one of the plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees upon being advised by the parties that the issue of attorneys' fees had been resolved. On January 14, 2011, Judge Davis issued a stipulated order awarding the plaintiffs $295,000 fees and expenses.

Disputes over attorneys' fees continued until January 13, 2012, when the parties settled but did not disclose the details of the settlement.

Kristen Sagar - 03/23/2009
Jessica Kincaid - 07/15/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Disciplinary segregation
Education
Recreation / Exercise
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Search policies
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Strip search policy
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
HIV/AIDS
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Mississippi Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates confined in Unit 32 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2006 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-MS-0003 : Russell v. Johnson (N.D. Miss.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
4:05-cv-00148-JAD (N.D. Miss.) 01/13/2012
PC-MS-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/22/2005
PC-MS-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Consent Decree 02/15/2006
PC-MS-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Order on Joint Motion of the Parties for Preliminary Approval of Proposed Consent Decree 03/06/2006
PC-MS-0005-0003 PDF | Detail
Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement 03/06/2006
PC-MS-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Order 04/28/2006
PC-MS-0005-0004 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Civil Contempt Sanctions and for Other Equitable Relief to Compel Defendants’ Compliance with Consent Decree Provisions on Medical and Mental Health Care 11/21/2006
PC-MS-0005-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Civil Contempt Sanctions and for Other Equitable Relief to Compel Defendants’ Compliance with Consent Decree Provisions on Medical and Mental Health Care 11/21/2006
PC-MS-0005-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Consent Decree on Mental Health Care, Use of Force and Classification 04/16/2007
PC-MS-0005-0010 PDF | Detail
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Compliance with Consent Decree Provisions on Excessive Force and to Consolidate with Plaintiff’s Pending Motion to Compel Compliance with Consent Decree Provisions on Treatment of the Mentally Ill 05/21/2007
PC-MS-0005-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Consent Decree on Mental Health Care, Use of Force and Classification 11/13/2007
PC-MS-0005-0008 PDF | Detail
Supplemental Consent Decree on Mental Health Care, Use of Force, and Classification 11/15/2007
PC-MS-0005-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal Without Prejudice by Agreement of the Parties 08/02/2010 (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0005-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order Awarding Fees and Expenses 01/14/2011 (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0005-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Davis, Jerry A. (N.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
PC-MS-0005-0001 | PC-MS-0005-0003 | PC-MS-0005-0004 | PC-MS-0005-0005 | PC-MS-0005-0010 | PC-MS-0005-0011 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-0013
Sanders, David A. (N.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
PC-MS-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baskir, Cecily E. (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0002
Bhat, Ghouri (Texas)
PC-MS-0005-0002 | PC-MS-0005-0005 | PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Eber, Gabriel B. (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Felder, LaKeytria (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Fernandez, Laura A. (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0012
Hanlon, Stephen F (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0002 | PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-0002 | PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Thompson, Ranie T. (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-0002 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Williams, John (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009
Winter, Margaret (District of Columbia)
PC-MS-0005-0001 | PC-MS-0005-0002 | PC-MS-0005-0005 | PC-MS-0005-0006 | PC-MS-0005-0007 | PC-MS-0005-0009 | PC-MS-0005-0010 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Clay, John L. (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-9000
Hall, Pelicia Everett (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-9000
Irvin, Charles Baron (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-9000
Norris, James Marshall (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-0005 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Vincent, Leonard Charlton (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0005-0005 | PC-MS-0005-0010 | PC-MS-0005-0012 | PC-MS-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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