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Case Name Wilkins v. Maryland State Police PN-MD-0003
Docket / Court MJG 93-468 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On February 12, 1993, Robert L. Wilkins, an African-American attorney, and three of his relatives filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against the State of Maryland and the Maryland State Police [MSP] under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On February 12, 1993, Robert L. Wilkins, an African-American attorney, and three of his relatives filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against the State of Maryland and the Maryland State Police [MSP] under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleged that defendants violated their constitutional rights by stopping, detaining and searching them pursuant to a racial profile used by defendants as part of their drug interdiction efforts. Plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, as well as class certification.

On January 5, 1995, the parties reached a settlement agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the MSP was to prohibit the use of race-based drug-courier profiling, to re-train all police officers on this new policy and to maintain computer records of all vehicle stops made on Maryland roadways in which drug-detecting dogs were used. Defendants also agreed to pay each plaintiff $12,500 in compensatory damages and to pay attorneys' fees of $45,600. Data from vehicle stops was to be forwarded to plaintiffs and the court in order to assure that the MSP was in compliance with the agreement.

On November 14, 1996, the plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement, alleging that the traffic stop data provided by the MSP showed that the MSP was engaged in a continuing pattern and practice of race discrimination in its drug interdiction activities carried out along the I-95 corridor. On April 22, 1997, the District Court (Judge Catherine Blake) ordered that its jurisdiction over the settlement agreement be extended as it found that plaintiffs made a reasonable showing that the MSP was in violation of the agreement. The District Court also ordered the MSP to collect and disclose additional data and information regarding traffic stops for further evaluation of the compliance issue.

In June 1998, the case was consolidated with the related case Maryland State Conf. of NAACP Branches v. Maryland Dep't of State Police, PP-MD-1, for discovery purposes. Litigation and discovery on the issue of MSP's compliance with the settlement agreement continued for years.

On April 22, 2003 the parties entered into a Consent Decree, which formally resolved all disputed issues in the case and replaced the terms of the settlement agreement. The Consent Decree also served to resolve the claims for declaratory and injunctive relief in the related case Maryland State Conf. of NAACP Branches v. Maryland Dep't of State Police, PP-MD-1.

The Consent Decree provided for a new MSP policy that included: the prohibition of racial profiling in traffic stops, retraining of all MSP officers, audio-visual taping of all traffic stops and searches, creation of a citizen complaint process, maintenance of statistics regarding traffic stops, development of a Police-Citizen Advisory Committee to promote mutual understanding between the police force and the community, and use of consent forms for vehicle searches. Defendants also agreed to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and expenses in the amount of $325,000. On May 23, 2003, the District Court approved the Consent Decree.

As of the date of this summary, it is believed that monitoring of the Consent Decree continues.

Kristen Sagar - 01/06/2007
Maurice Youkanna - 08/01/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Provide antidiscrimination training
Race discrimination
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Allegany County
State of Maryland
Plaintiff Description All African-Americans detained by the Maryland State Police pursuant to a race-based “drug courier profile.”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - 2008
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PN-MD-0002 : Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches v. Department of Maryland State Police (D. Md.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Controlling Racially Discriminatory Law Enforcement Through Institutional Reform Litigation
By: Name Redacted (Harvard)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

93-00468 (D. Md.) 10/07/2003
PN-MD-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Criminal Intelligence Report 04/27/1992
PN-MD-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Complaint 02/12/1993
PN-MD-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement 01/05/1995
PN-MD-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Report of John Lamberth, PhD 11/08/1996
PN-MD-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Enforcement of Settlement Agreement and for Further Relief 11/14/1996
PN-MD-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Press Release: ACLU moves to have Maryland State Police Held in Contempt 11/14/1996
PN-MD-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Order 04/22/1997 (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Report of John Lamberth, Ph.D. 04/26/2000
PN-MD-0003-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Consent to Search and Seizure Form 04/22/2003
PN-MD-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Notice of Filing of Lengthy Exhibit 04/22/2003
PN-MD-0003-0010.pdf | Detail
Consent Decree 04/22/2003
PN-MD-0003-0012.pdf | Detail
Order 05/23/2003 (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0003-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Blake, Catherine C. (D. Md.) [Magistrate]
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-0009 | PN-MD-0003-0011 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Garbis, Marvin J. (D. Md.)
Monitors/Masters Blake, Catherine C. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-0009 | PN-MD-0003-0011 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Grimm, Paul William (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0011 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Clemons, Keefe B. (Massachusetts)
Duncan, Robert Bruce (District of Columbia)
Freeman, Andrew D. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Goering, Susan (Maryland)
Guy, Jonathan P. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0003-0004 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Hill, David Anthony (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-0007 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Jeon, Deborah A. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-0004 | PN-MD-0003-0007 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Keeney, John C. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0003-0007 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Kim, David Dukkyu (Maryland)
Mertens, William J. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0003-0004 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
O'Neil, Thomas F. (District of Columbia)
Shuford, Reginald (New York)
PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Wilkins, Robert Leon (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Curran, John Joseph Jr. (Maryland)
Dove, Maureen Mullen (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0010 | PN-MD-0003-0012
Rosenblatt, Richard Bruce (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Sconion, Betty S. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0010 | PN-MD-0003-0012
Sullivan, Steven M. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0010 | PN-MD-0003-0012 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Wilkinson, Steven C. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0003-0002 | PN-MD-0003-9000
Other Lawyers Sullivan, Dwight H. (Maryland)
Tapscott, Barbara Musfeldt (Iowa)

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