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Case Name Stewart v. Lubbock County, Texas JC-TX-0014
Docket / Court Unknown ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
In the early 1980s, two female arrestees, Paulette Stewart and Barbara Wilkerson, filed separate lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the blanket strip search policy of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department. Each plaintiff was arrested for a minor ... read more >
In the early 1980s, two female arrestees, Paulette Stewart and Barbara Wilkerson, filed separate lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, challenging the blanket strip search policy of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department. Each plaintiff was arrested for a minor crime (one for public intoxication, the other for a bad check charge) and then strip searched at the Lubbock County Jail pursuant to the Sheriff's policy of strip searching all arrestees, regardless of the crime charged or whether there was any suspicion that the individual possessed weapons or contraband. Both plaintiffs sought monetary damages and injunctive relief, and Wilkerson also sought class certification.

The District Court (Judge Halbert O. Woodward) awarded Wilkerson $15,000 in monetary damages and awarded Stewart nominal damages of $1.00. The District Court also entered a temporary and permanent injunction in the Stewart case, enjoining strip searches under the Lubbock County Sheriff's blanket strip search policy. Stewart's attorneys then moved for attorneys' fees. When the Sheriff failed to respond to the motion, the Court granted it and awarded fees.

The Sheriff appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that: (1) in both cases, the District Court committed a legal error in ruling that the County's strip search policy was unconstitutional; and (2) in the Stewart case, the District Court further abused its discretion in refusing to set aside the default judgment for attorney's fees. The cases were consolidated on appeal, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgments in both cases. Stewart v. Lubbock County, Texas 767 F.2d 153 (5th Cir. 1985).

The Sheriff subsequently requested but was denied a writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. Lubbock County, Tex. v. Stewart, 475 U.S. 1066, 106 S.Ct. 1378, 89 L.Ed.2d 604 (U.S. 1986).

We have no further information on this case.

Dan Dalton - 02/12/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Lubbock County, Texas
Sheriff of Lubbock County
Plaintiff Description Women charged with minor offenses and strip searched at the Lubbock County Jail pursuant to a blanket search policy, without any reasonable suspicion that they possessed weapons or contraband.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1985
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Opinion Affirming District Court] 08/05/1985 (767 F.2d 153)
JC-TX-0014-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Cert. Denied] 03/10/1986 (475 U.S. 1066)
JC-TX-0014-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Hill, Robert Madden (Fifth Circuit, N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. (S.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Johnson, Samuel D. Jr. (Fifth Circuit)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hall, Mark C. (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Hult, Nathan (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Rogers, Marvin (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Darnell, Jim Bob (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Fletcher, Kay P. (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Kuhne, Cecil (Texas)
JC-TX-0014-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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