University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Porter v. Speirs JI-CA-0015
Docket / Court 06AS03654 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Youth Law Center
Case Summary
On December 19, 2006, a taxpayer filed an amended complaint in the Sacramento County, California, Superior Court naming, as defendants, the county's chief probation officer and the county's superintendent of schools. Plaintiff sought declaratory relief and to enjoin expenditure of public funds for ... read more >
On December 19, 2006, a taxpayer filed an amended complaint in the Sacramento County, California, Superior Court naming, as defendants, the county's chief probation officer and the county's superintendent of schools. Plaintiff sought declaratory relief and to enjoin expenditure of public funds for alleged illegal conduct at the county's two juvenile halls. (We do not have information on when the original complaint was filed nor the allegations made.) Plaintiff had private counsel, including attorneys from a large firm and from the Prison Law Office, both of whom were also involved as plaintiffs' counsel in similar California cases, Farrell v. Harper, Hixon v. Hope, and Waters v. Woodford (cases JI-CA-13, JI-CA-14, and JI-CA-16, respectively, in this database).

The amended complaint set out numerous categories in which the halls, as operated, allegedly failed to meet state statutory standards, including inadequate physical safety (e.g., excessive staff use of force, including overuse of pepper spray and a practice called "dipping," in which juvenile wards were forced to the ground by staff, who then kneeled on them, as well as subjected to verbal and emotional abuse); living conditions far from statutorily-mandated "homelike conditions" (e.g., poor meals, overcrowding, extended housing in rooms without plumbing, filthy conditions, and denial of writing materials, of child visitation and of telephone access); lack of educational and rehabilitative programs, especially in "lock-up" units, and absence of special education combined with failure to provide required Individualized Education Plans (IEPs); inadequate medical and mental health care (including failure to obtain parental consent for medical procedures); and lack of accommodations for those with physical or mental disabilities (such as for learning disabled or deaf residents). Citing numerous provisions of the state's constitution and statutes, the plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and for the court to retain jurisdiction over the case until it found sufficient compliance by the defendant with remedial orders plaintiff sought.

We have no further information about activity in the case; however, a June 2007, legislative proposal (S.B. 518) in the California Assembly to create a youth bill of rights for juveniles within state prisons or juvenile facilities mentions that serious allegations of substandard conditions for juvenile wards have been made in several pending cases, including this one. A copy of a legislative analysis of the proposed bill is in this database.

Mike Fagan - 05/20/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Hearing impairment
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Confinement/isolation
Education
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Pepper/OC spray
Sanitation / living conditions
Special education
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Sacramento County Juvenile Hall
Sacramento County Office of Education
Plaintiff Description Taxpayers who bring this action to enjoin expenditure of funds to promulgate, administer, and enforce illegal policies, practices, and procedures in the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
Youth Law Center
Class action status sought None on record
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
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 not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 12/19/2006
JI-CA-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Assembly Committee on Public Safety [Analysis of Senate Bill 518] 06/26/2007
JI-CA-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Stipulated Consent Decree 12/15/2009
JI-CA-0015-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Judges Chang, Shelleyanne W. L. (State Trial Court)
JI-CA-0015-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Agarwal, Monty (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Barker, Diane (California)
JI-CA-0015-0003
Chavez, Mark A. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Dupree, Renee (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Farzan , Farschad (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
George, Warren E. Jr. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Keith, Traci M. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Lee, Belinda S. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Norgaard, Vibeke (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Norman, Sara Linda (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Palamountain, Kathryn C. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Park, Ju Y. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Specter, Donald H. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Ulmer, Richard Jr. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001 | JI-CA-0015-0003
Wang, Philip J. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Deutsch, Craig E. (California)
JI-CA-0015-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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