University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mercer v. Mitchell JC-GA-0021
Docket / Court 74-195 ( S.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
In 1974, a group of inmates filed a section 1983 class action suit, claiming that the Chatham County Jail was extremely overcrowded. Defendants agreed that the jail was overcrowded, and litigation abated during construction of a new jail. After completion of the new jail, inmates who remained in ... read more >
In 1974, a group of inmates filed a section 1983 class action suit, claiming that the Chatham County Jail was extremely overcrowded. Defendants agreed that the jail was overcrowded, and litigation abated during construction of a new jail. After completion of the new jail, inmates who remained in the old jail renewed their challenge to the crowded conditions of the old jail once again, and, in 1981, the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia (Judge Berry Edenfield) placed a temporary cap of 446 inmates on the jail and ordered defendants to reduce the population to a manageable level. Over the next several years, plaintiffs tried on several occasions to have the court hold defendants in contempt of the court order, but the court refused. Finally, in 1988, the court fined defendants over $30,000 for violating the population cap. Defendants appealed.

In 1990, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's decision and remanded for further proceedings in order to allow defendants the opportunity to show cause why they were not in contempt. Mercer v. Mitchell, 908 F.2d 763 (11th Cir. 1990). The docket for this case is not available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the last reported decision in 1990.

Lauren Cutson - 05/20/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Chatham County jail
Plaintiff Description inmates of the Chatham 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 Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1981 - 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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 08/08/1990 (908 F.2d 763)
JC-GA-0021-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit, M.D. Fla.)
JC-GA-0021-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bass, James F. Jr. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0021-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Garrard, Emily E. (Georgia)
JC-GA-0021-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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