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Case Name Jackson v. County of Bexar JC-TX-0020
Docket / Court 5:07-cv-00928-FB ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On November 15, 2007, an individual who was strip searched after being charged with a petty crime filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project and private counsel, the plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 198 ... read more >
On November 15, 2007, an individual who was strip searched after being charged with a petty crime filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project and private counsel, the plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging as unconstitutional Bexar County Detention Center's policy or custom of strip searching misdemeanant arrestees even where they were not suspected of concealing weapons or contraband.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that she was arrested for an outstanding traffic warrant and taken to the Bexar County Detention Center, where she was subjected to a strip search upon admission. The plaintiff further alleged that, after being held for two days, she and 25 other pretrial detainees were ordered to change into jail-issued uniforms, at which time she was again strip searched. The plaintiffs allege that detainees were told to manipulate genitalia and sometimes "squat and cough" regardless of whether there was reasonable suspicion of contraband or weapons. The plaintiff claimed that the strip searches violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights in that they were conducted in the absence of any reasonable suspicion that she was hiding weapons or contraband. To remedy the alleged constitutional violation, the plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class certification.

On April 2, 2009, both parties agreed to a consent decree that would provide permanent injunctive relief without further litigation. The decree dictated that the County Detention Center would no longer, absent reasonable suspicion that someone is concealing contraband, engage in the practice of strip searching or visual cavity searching those in their custody who are charged with misdemeanors. The County Detention Center also had to provide the court with an annual report regarding the implementation of the consent decree. Nothing in the consent decree addressed the plaintiff's request for compensatory and punitive damages. The court retained jurisdiction to enforce the decree. The decree was signed by Judge Fred Biery of the Western District of Texas.

On November 16, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. The parties continued to engage in discovery and settlement talks to resolve the damages claims. On August 26, 2010, the plaintiffs' submitted a motion of preliminary approval of the class-action settlement. The court preliminarily approved the settlement on October 13, 2010. After a fairness hearing, a final order of approval was granted on January 12, 2011.

The settlement agreement certified a class of plaintiffs composed of all detainees of Bexar County Detention Center between November 2005 and April 2009 who were subjected to strip searches and booked on misdemeanor or other minor charges. Those with felonies were not included. The class also had two subclasses. Subclass I was composed of all detainees not in subclass II, and subclass II included detainees booked on narcotics, shoplifting, and weapons-violation misdemeanors. All members of the class were to receive a pro rata share of the settlement after administrative expenses, attorneys' fees, and other expenses are counted for.

Attorneys' fees were $900,000 for this case. The court found this reasonable considering the amount of time put in and the complexity of the case. The settlement included $395,000 for the claim administrator, and $15,000 was given to the three class representatives for their work in the lawsuit. The fund was then be used to pay class members. Class members in subclass I could receive up to $1,000, and members of subclass II can receive up to $100. Class members could pay off court fines and fees in Bexar County with their settlement funds, but this was capped at $500 and $50 for the subclasses respectively.

On January 28, 2013, however, the district court dismissed this case, thus vacating and revoking the settlement agreement. In 2012, the Supreme Court decided Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, holding that jail administrators may require all arrestees committed to the general population of the jail to undergo a no-touch visual strip search, even if the detainees is booked for a minor offense or reasonable suspicion is absent. The plaintiffs, their attorneys, and class members were not required to pay back any fees or funds they were awarded, but the County no longer needed to abide by the consent decree from April 9, 2009, that details how their strip search policy is to be conducted. They were now guided by the decision in Florence.

Dan Dalton - 11/27/2007
Erin Pamukcu - 02/19/2016
Salvatore Mancina - 03/18/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Bexar
Plaintiff Description All individuals charged with misdemeanor or minor crimes who were strip searched upon entry into the Bexar County Detention Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:07-cv-00928-FB (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-TX-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Protective Order, Certificate of Service, Agreed Protective Order [ECF# 58]
JC-TX-0020-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 63] (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0020-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/02/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 92]
JC-TX-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement and Brief in Support Thereof [ECF# 113]
JC-TX-0020-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Preliminarily Approving Settlement [ECF# 116] (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0020-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/13/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Final Approval of Class Action Settlement and Judgment [ECF# 128] (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/12/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Unopposed Consent Decree and Final Judgment [ECF# 181] (W.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Biery, Samuel Frederick Jr. Court not on record
JC-TX-0020-0004 | JC-TX-0020-0005 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0008 | JC-TX-0020-0009 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barnett, Alexander E. (New York)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Chelkowski, Kerrisa J. (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Harrington, James C (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Keach, Elmer Robert III (New York)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
LaDuca, Charles Joseph (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-0009 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Lock, Sam Howard (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Migliaccio, Nicholas A. (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Walton, Brent (District of Columbia)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Warren, Alexandra C. (Virginia)
JC-TX-0020-0001 | JC-TX-0020-0003 | JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0007 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gonzalez, Randolph V (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-9000
Gregory, Sue Ann (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Hanson, Lori W (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Johnson, William P (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Kurth, Laurence S (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-0006 | JC-TX-0020-0009 | JC-TX-0020-9000
Other Lawyers Thompson, Jason J (Texas)
JC-TX-0020-9000

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