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Case Name Wilkes v. Sheahan JC-IL-0008
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-01592 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On March 7, 2001, three pretrial detainees filed a 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1988 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging the Cook County Sheriff's policies of strip searching female pre-trial detainees (a) upon their admission to the Cook County Jail, (b) ... read more >
On March 7, 2001, three pretrial detainees filed a 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1988 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, challenging the Cook County Sheriff's policies of strip searching female pre-trial detainees (a) upon their admission to the Cook County Jail, (b) upon their return to the jail from court, and (c) at random. These searches, Plaintiffs alleged, were conducted on groups of 15 to 40 women at a time, in plain view of male guards, and in unsanitary and repulsive conditions. The searches included inspections of body cavities, without regard to whether women were on their menstrual cycle. Attack dogs were unleashed to sniff the women, while guards admonished them that the dogs would bite if drugs were discovered. Plaintiffs claimed that such searches and conduct violated their rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments and sought monetary damages, injunctive relief, and class certification. On July 5, 2001, an amended complaint was filed adding three additional named plaintiffs to the lawsuit.

A settlement conference was held by the District Court (Judge John W. Darrah) on April 26, 2001. According to the PACER docket, numerous status conferences were held thereafter until it appears that a settlement was reached. The case was dismissed by agreement of the parties on August 22, 2001. Terms of the settlement are unknown, but it seems to have been reached jointly with Gary v. Sheahan, JC-IL-7.

We have no further information on this case.

Dan Dalton - 02/25/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Cook County Department of Corrections
Cook County Sheriff
Plaintiff Description Six women who were brought to the Cook County Jail on arrests made relating to minor offenses and who were then strip searched in front of other inmates and officers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-IL-0007 : Gary v. Sheahan (N.D. Ill.)
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)
1:01-cv-01592 (N.D. Ill.) 08/22/2001
JC-IL-0008-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/07/2001
JC-IL-0008-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 07/05/2001
JC-IL-0008-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Ashman, Martin C. (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
JC-IL-0008-0001 | JC-IL-0008-0002
Darrah, John W. (N.D. Ill.)
JC-IL-0008-0001 | JC-IL-0008-0002 | JC-IL-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Farley, Robert Hugh Jr. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-9000
Morrissey, Thomas Gerard (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-0001 | JC-IL-0008-0002 | JC-IL-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Burnham, Thomas M. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-9000
Castiglione, Paul Anthony (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-9000
Driscoll, Patrick T. Jr. (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-9000
Jacobs, Michael David (Illinois)
JC-IL-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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