On February 27, 1985, prisoners of the Wyandotte County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private attorneys, sued the Board of County Commissioners of ...
read more >
On February 27, 1985, prisoners of the Wyandotte County Jail filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private attorneys, sued the Board of County Commissioners of Wyandotte County, three individual commissioners, and the Sheriff of Wyandotte County. The inmates challenged the conditions of their confinement.
In 1987, the parties negotiated a stipulated consent decree under which a new county jail facility was to be constructed. The decree also created a Jail Population Control Committee to oversee operations of the new jail. The decree was approved by the United States District Court for the District of Kansas (Judge Dale Emerson Saffels) and the jail became operational in 1989. In September of 1992, the Court found that the jail was not operating in compliance with the consent order. Woodson v. Sully, 801 F.Supp. 466 (D.Kan. 1992). It denied the parties' request to remove operational control of the jail from the Sheriff and place it in the hands of an entity called the Jail Control Authority. In October of 1992, the Court appointed a Special Master (the opinion does not mention the name of the Special Master) to oversee the defendants' compliance with the original consent order. Finally, on August 1994, the Court issued its final order, finding the defendants in compliance with the original consent order and also creating the position of Jail Administrator (named J.B. Hopkins).
In December of 2000, the defendants filed Motion to Reopen the case for the limited purposes of seeking temporary orders to require the Sheriff to comply with the original consent order and the authority of the Jail Population Control Committee. The defendants sought two remedies: they wanted to close two of the jail's internal facilities to alleviate staffing issues, and second, they renewed their request to remove the Sheriff from operational control of the jail. Before the court could rule on the motion, the parties settled. They submitted an agreement in 2001 that resolved the closure issue but left outstanding the request to find the Sheriff in contempt and remove him from operation of the Jail. In 2002, the Court heard that issue and denied the motion, finding that nobody other than the Sheriff had the authority over the operations of the County Jail. Woodson v. Green, 191 F.Supp.2d 1231 (D.Kan. 2002).
The docket goes on to describe subsequent procedural motions through 2003, when Magistrate Judge (James P. O'Hara) denied a motion to reopen the case and a motion for a hearing. The government appealed this decision, but on July 25, 2003, the government voluntarily dismissed the appeal.
On July 15, 2011, the government moved to terminate the consent decree. After hearing from the plaintiffs and other defendants, Magistrate Judge James P. O'Hara terminated the consent decree on September 13, 2011.Rebecca Bloch - 04/18/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 04/02/2016