University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Sutton JC-NJ-0020
Docket / Court 2:07-cr-00426-KSH ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
This is a federal criminal case in which the defendant, Franz Copeland Sutton, took the unusual position that he was entitled to a lesser sentence because he was subjected to unlawful conditions of confinement while housed in the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey. Sutton argued that the Jail, ... read more >
This is a federal criminal case in which the defendant, Franz Copeland Sutton, took the unusual position that he was entitled to a lesser sentence because he was subjected to unlawful conditions of confinement while housed in the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey. Sutton argued that the Jail, which contracted with the federal government to house federal prisoners, was severely overcrowded during his seven months of confinement. He presented evidence that the Jail was 50 years old and housed more than twice the number of inmates it was designed to hold. He claimed that, because of the overcrowding and poor physical condition of the facility, inmates were subjected to poor hygiene and sanitation, triple bunking, and exposure to fire hazards. He also alleged that the Jail had been in violation of the municipal fire code for years.

The suit was ultimately resolved on October 25, 2007 when the District Court (Judge Katharine S. Hayden) found the Jail conditions to be so appalling that they warranted a reduction in Sutton's criminal sentence. U.S. v. Sutton, 2007 WL 3170128 (D.N.J. Oct. 25, 2007). This case was closed in 2007.

Dan Dalton - 02/21/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Bathing and hygiene
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Funding
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Defendant(s) Franz Copeland Sutton
Passaic County Jail
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice (criminal division)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief downward departure on criminal sentence
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Docket(s)
2:07-cr-00426-KSH (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/25/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion on Defendant’s Application for Downward Variance as a Federal Detainee Housed in Passaic County Jail [ECF# 17] (2007 WL 3170128) (D.N.J.)
JC-NJ-0020-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/25/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hayden, Katharine Sweeney Court not on record
JC-NJ-0020-0001 | JC-NJ-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kim, Nicole Miah (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carter, Peter Michael (New Jersey)
JC-NJ-0020-9000

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