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Case Name Johnson v. California PC-CA-0041
Docket / Court 2:95-cv-01192-CBM-JC ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On February 24, 1995, an African-American prisoner of the California Department of Corrections filed a pro se suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the Department's violated his constitutional rights by racially segregating prisoners and ... read more >
On February 24, 1995, an African-American prisoner of the California Department of Corrections filed a pro se suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleging that the Department's violated his constitutional rights by racially segregating prisoners and extorting money from inmates by overcharging for telephone use. The Plaintiff was frequently transferred among California prisons and was always initially double-celled with another African-American upon his arrival to a new prison. The Department contented that the double celling policy was a legitimate security measure that prevented violence caused by racial gangs.

The Department of Corrections moved to dismiss, and the Plaintiff filed a series of amended complaints, culminating in a Third Amended Complaint. The District Court dismissed it for failure to state a claim and the Plaintiff appealed. The Ninth Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part. The District Court was instructed to appoint Johnson pro bono counsel on remand. Johnson v. State of Cal., 207 F.3d 650 (9th Cir. 2000).

On remand, the District Court (Chief Judge Consuelo B. Marshall) granted summary judgment for prison officials on qualified immunity grounds. Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge O'Scannlain) affirmed, holding that the Department policy did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Johnson v. State of California, 321 F.3d 791 (9th Cir.2003). Plaintiff's request for rehearing and rehearing en banc were denied. Johnson v. California, 336 F.3d 1117 (9th Cir. 2003). The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari. Johnson v. California, 540 U.S. 1217, 124 S.Ct. 1505, 158 L.Ed.2d 151 (2004).

The Supreme Court found that plaintiff's equal protection challenge to the CDC's policy should have been reviewed under the strict scrutiny standard. As the lower courts applied a lesser standard of review to plaintiff's challenge, the decision was reversed and remanded. Johnson v. California, 543 U.S. 499, 125 S.Ct. 1141, 160 L.Ed.2d 949 (2005).

Upon remand to the Ninth Circuit, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, the stated goal of the Department of Corrections was to treat all prisoners without subjection to any form of racial segregation. To achieve that goal, the Department agreed to integrate cells, by creating housing protocols for assigning cellmates, starting first with reception centers and then general population cells. Details of the integration plan were to be set forth in a Confidential Draft Organizational Plan, which was to be provided to plaintiff's counsel.

Additionally, the Settlement Agreement provided that the Plaintiff would receive a payment of $12,000. The case would be remanded to the District Court for a determination of attorneys' fees.

Dan Dalton - 12/04/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Race discrimination
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Plaintiff Description California inmate challenged the Department's policy of racially segregating inmates in reception units.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 02/24/1995
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  The Oyez Project, Johnson v. California, 543 U.S. 499 (2005).
Date: Feb. 23, 2005
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

2:95-cv-01192-CBM-JC (C.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0041-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Per Curiam Opinion (Ninth Circuit) (207 F.3d 650)
PC-CA-0041-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/21/2000
Source: Google Scholar
Fourth Amended Complaint
PC-CA-0041-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/05/2000
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Opinion (Ninth Circuit) (321 F.3d 791)
PC-CA-0041-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/25/2003
Source: Google Scholar
Order (Ninth Circuit) (336 F.3d 1117)
PC-CA-0041-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/28/2003
Source: Google Scholar
Certiorari Granted (Supreme Court) (540 U.S. 1217)
PC-CA-0041-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/01/2004
Source: Westlaw
Amicus Curiae Motion Granted (Supreme Court) (542 U.S. 964)
PC-CA-0041-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/28/2004
Supreme Court Opinion (543 U.S. 499)
PC-CA-0041-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/23/2005
Settlement and Release Agreement
PC-CA-0041-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2005
show all people docs
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (First Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Brunetti, Melvin T. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0004 | PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-0006
Chooljian, Jacqueline (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
Ferguson, Warren John (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Fletcher, Betty Binns (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Hug, Procter Ralph Jr. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-0006
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Marshall, Consuelo Bland (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Nelson, Dorothy Wright (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0004 | PC-CA-0041-0006
O'Connor, Sandra Day (SCOTUS) show/hide docs
O'Scannlain, Diarmuid Fionntain (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-0006
Pregerson, Dean D. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
Rehnquist, William Hubbs (SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Scalia, Antonin (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Souter, David Hackett (First Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Stevens, John Paul (Seventh Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Thomas, Clarence (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
Wardlaw, Kim McLane (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allan, Aaron P. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-0006 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Deixler, Bert H. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0003 | PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Forsheit, Tanya (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-0006
Forsythe, Tawnya (California) show/hide docs
Hilger, Jeffrey Thomas Garcia (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0006 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Ingber, Kenneth S. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0003 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Tellem, Nicole (California) show/hide docs
Thompson, Lois D. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0006 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, Robert R. (California) show/hide docs
Crown, Allen Robert (California) show/hide docs
Gifford, Paul D. (California) show/hide docs
Grunder, Frances T. (California) show/hide docs
Lockyer, Bill (California) show/hide docs
Lungren, Daniel E. (California) show/hide docs
Russell, Jay C. (California) show/hide docs
Spiegel, Barbara (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0004 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Turner, Sara E. (California) show/hide docs
PC-CA-0041-0004 | PC-CA-0041-0005 | PC-CA-0041-9000
Williamson, George H. (California) show/hide docs

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