On May 12, 2005, male arrestees at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center ("Central Booking") filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the warden of Central Booking, the Baltimore Police Department, the City of Baltimore, and ...
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On May 12, 2005, male arrestees at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center ("Central Booking") filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs sued the warden of Central Booking, the Baltimore Police Department, the City of Baltimore, and other state officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive relief, compensatory and consequential damages, and attorneys fees and costs. The plaintiffs claimed that all actions by the defendants were pursuant to the policies, customs, and practices of the Baltimore City Police Department and the City of Baltimore.The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were liable under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments through 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional injuries to the named plaintiffs and all other class members caused by their conduct. This case was one of three cases alleging mistreatment of persons arrested and taken to Central Booking for booking and processing. The other cases were JC-MD-0008: Maryland NAACP v. Baltimore City Police Department, 1:06-cv-01863-CCB (D. Md. 2006) and JC-MD-0011: Rodney v. Murphy, 24-C-05004405, filed in Maryland state court.
Plaintiffs sought certification for five classes. First, the suspicionless strip search class which consisted of those who had been or would be arrested for crimes not involving weapons, drugs, or felony violence, who were strip searched by Central Booking employees without any individualized finding that they were harboring weapons, drugs, or other contraband. Second, the non-private strip search class was composed of those who had been or would be subjected to strip searches at Central Booking with other arrestees present. Third, the equal protection strip search class consisted of male arrestees strip searched at Central Booking while similarly-situated female arrestees were not. Fourth, the underwear strip search class was made up of male arrestees subjected to an underwear strip search while similarly-situated female arrestees were not. Fifth, the over detention class consisted of those arrested without warrants who had been or would be detained for an unreasonable length of time (more than 48 hours) before presentment to a judicial officer for a determination of probable cause.
The defendants moved to dismiss the third amended complaint for failure to state a claim. The District Court (District Judge Catherine C. Blake) granted the motion in part and dismissed all claims against the City and the Police Department, rejecting the theory of "entrustment liability." Claims against the state defendants survived, with the exception of individual claims against the current warden. Jones v. Murphy, 470 F.Supp.2d 537 (D. Md. Jan 04, 2007).
On July 11, 2008, the district court (Judge Blake) issued a memorandum on the issue of whether the gender-differentiated search policy violated the Equal Protection Clause. The court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the issue and denied the defendants' motion.
On March 19, 2009, the district court partially granted the plaintiffs' motion to certify a class. Specifically, the court certified the following subclasses: 1) those people detained for more than 48 hours without having been brought before a commissioner, and 2) those people arrested for minor, nondrug, nonviolent offenses and strip-searched before they were brought before a commissioner. The court declined to certify the following subclasses: 1) those people who weren't strip-searched privately, and 2) male arrestees who were searched to their underwear when female detainees were not.
As of the date of this summary, litigation and discovery in the case continued.Kristen Sagar - 06/06/2009