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Case Name Hicks v. Camden County, New Jersey JC-NJ-0009
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-01857-JHR-JS ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On April 8, 2005, two inmates at the Camden County Jail in New Jersey filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Sheriff of the jail and Camden County officials in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked ... read more >
On April 8, 2005, two inmates at the Camden County Jail in New Jersey filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Sheriff of the jail and Camden County officials in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages and attorneys' fees, alleging that the defendants had violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights by strip searching them at the jail. They argued that they should not have been strip searched because they had been charged only with petty crimes and traffic violations. They also argued that a subclass of plaintiffs had paid their bail and were unlawfully detained at the time of their strip search.

On March 27, 2006, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Joel B. Rosen) dismissed without prejudice the City of Camden, the Camden City Police Department, and the police chief, and the deputy police chief. The Court noted that all parties had agreed to dismiss these defendants pursuant to the settlement talks that were in progress. On February 28, 2007, the District Court (District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, pursuant to an agreement of the parties.

On July 17, 2007, the parties asked the District Court to dismiss the case, notifying the Court that they had reached a settlement agreement. On June 9, 2008, Judge Rodriguez granted the request and issued an order of dismissal. In the settlement agreement, the defendants affirmatively stated that they had stopped strip searching detainees on a blanket basis as of April 27, 2005. They also stated that they had stopped strip searching non-indictable detainees in the absence of reasonable suspicion. The defendants maintained that their written policy as of 2007 was constitutional, and had been reviewed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections for compliance with state law, but they agreed to consider formally revising their policy as needed. The defendants agreed to retrain all corrections officers regarding the strip search policy, requiring all officers to sign a form reflecting their understanding of the policy. The defendants also agreed to release, in due time, inmates who had paid their bail, rather than holding them unnecessarily. Finally, the defendants agreed to pay $7.5 million into a settlement fund, to be distributed to plaintiffs as damages, with the named class representatives to receive $15,000 each, and with $200,000 also deducted from the larger sum to pay the costs of administration and notice regarding the settlement. Likewise, prevailing parties' attorneys fees would be deducted from the larger sum, leaving a "distribution amount" from which payments would be made to the class. Final Judgment was issued on September 22, 2008.

Kristen Sagar - 03/22/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Over/Unlawful Detention
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Camden City Police Department
Camden County Correctional Facility
Camden County Sheriff's De[artment
County of Camden
The City of Camden
Plaintiff Description Those strip-searched at the Camden County Correctional Facility after charged with petty crimes and traffic violations and also a subclass who paid bail to Camden City Police Department, yet were unlawfully detained and strip searched.
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 2007 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
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 ]

  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 ]

Docket(s)
1:05-cv-01857-JHR-JS (D.N.J.) 01/23/2009
JC-NJ-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 04/08/2005
JC-NJ-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal Without Prejudice as to Defendants, The City of Camden [in part] 03/27/2006 (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [re: Class Certification] 02/28/2007 (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal 07/17/2007 (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement pp. 1-50 09/05/2007
JC-NJ-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement pp. 51-88 09/05/2007
JC-NJ-0009-0006.pdf | Detail
Judges Rodriguez, Joseph H. (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0009-0003 | JC-NJ-0009-0004 | JC-NJ-0009-0006 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
Rosen, Joel B. (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
JC-NJ-0009-0002
Schneider, Joel (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
JC-NJ-0009-0004 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cuneo, Jonathan W. (District of Columbia)
JC-NJ-0009-0001
Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)
JC-NJ-0009-0001 | JC-NJ-0009-0005 | JC-NJ-0009-0006 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
La Duca, Charles (District of Columbia)
JC-NJ-0009-0001 | JC-NJ-0009-0003 | JC-NJ-0009-0005
Lesser, Seth R. (New York)
JC-NJ-0009-0001 | JC-NJ-0009-0005 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
Riback, William A. (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-0001 | JC-NJ-0009-0005 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
Rudich, Fran L. (New York)
JC-NJ-0009-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Gillespie, John Charles (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-0002 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
Howard, Richard M. (New York)
JC-NJ-0009-0003 | JC-NJ-0009-9000
O'Brien, Timothy P. (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-9000
Salvati, Frank A. (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-9000
Wilson, Howard (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-9000
Other Lawyers Whiteside, Donna M. (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-9000
Wilson, Lewis (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0009-9000

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