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Case Name Craft v. County of San Bernardino JC-CA-0044
Docket / Court 5:05-cv-00359-SGL-OP ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On May 3, 2005, three inmates who had been housed at the San Bernardino County Jail filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the County of San Bernardino and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The ... read more >
On May 3, 2005, three inmates who had been housed at the San Bernardino County Jail filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the County of San Bernardino and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the defendants' policy sanctioning the systematic strip searching of all detainees who pass through the county jail system, regardless of the nature of the crime prompting their detention. They claimed that the searches occurred in full view of jailors and detainees of the opposite sex, and took place even when the detainee in question had already been ordered released on bail after making an appearance in court.

On February 16, 2006, the defendants asked the District Court to dismiss the case. On March 23, 2006, the District Court (Judge Stephen G. Larson) dismissed the portion of the complaint where the plaintiffs were attempting to sue Sheriff Penrod in his official capacity, and the Court also dismissed the portion of the complaint being brought under the California Constitution. With regard to the other portions of the complaint, the Court denied the motion to dismiss.

On October 11, 2006, the District Court officially certified four plaintiff classes, with a number of sub-classes. The classes were defined as: 1) pre-arraignment arrestees, 2) court returns entitled to release, 3) challenge to manner in which searches were conducted, and 4) transports.

The plaintiff classes asked the court for summary judgment, and on December 7, 2006, the District Court (Judge Larson) partially granted their request, holding that the policy of strip searching arrestees returning from court in a group setting when they were entitled to be released was unreasonable and that the policy of strip-searching pre-arraignment arrestees charged with crimes not involving drugs or violence who were transferred from short-term to long-term jails was also unreasonable. Craft v. County of San Bernardino, 468 F.Supp.2d 1172 (C.D.Ca. 2006).

On September 21, 2007, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which was preliminarily approved by the District Court. According to the document, the County of San Bernardino agreed to pay $25,500,000.00 to the plaintiff class in order to fully settle the claims against them. All fees were to be paid out of this settlement fund. In addition, the defendants agreed to discontinue strip-searches of arrestees who would fall into any of the certified classes in this lawsuit, and the plaintiffs agreed to release all claims that they had against the defendants.

On April 1, 2008, the District Court approved the settlement. Each claimant will receive $700-800 on average ($50 minimum). The named plaintiffs will share a total payout of $200,000. Class attorney's fees were set at $6,325,000 -- 25% of the class damages.

Kristen Sagar - 07/09/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of San Bernardino
Plaintiff Description Four classes certified: (1) Pre-Arraignment Arrestees (three sub-classes), (2) Court Returns Entitled to Release, (3) Challenge to Manner in Which Searches are Conducted, and (4) Transports.
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 Damages
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)
5:05-cv-00359-SGL-OP (C.D. Cal.) 09/21/2007
JC-CA-0044-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 03/23/2006 (2006 WL 4941829) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0044-0001 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Class Certification 10/11/2006 (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0044-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment 12/07/2006 (468 F.Supp.2d 1172) (C.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0044-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation and Order Granting Preliminary Approval to Class Settlement (with Settlement Agreement attached as Exhibit A) 09/21/2007
JC-CA-0044-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Larson, Stephen G. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0044-0001 | JC-CA-0044-0002 | JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Parada, Oswald (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0044-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson-Barker, Cynthia M. (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Cook, Donald W. (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Estuar, Paul J. (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Litt, Barrett S. (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Mann, Robert Frederick (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Miller, Bryan Barnet (California)
JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fox, Dana Alden (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Huff, Barbara S. (California)
JC-CA-0044-0003 | JC-CA-0044-0004 | JC-CA-0044-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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