On February 25, 2008, the plaintiff, a pre-arraignment detainee in the Santa Cruz County Jail, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States Court for the District of Arizona, Tucson Division against Santa Cruz County. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked ...
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On February 25, 2008, the plaintiff, a pre-arraignment detainee in the Santa Cruz County Jail, filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States Court for the District of Arizona, Tucson Division against Santa Cruz County. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive and compensatory relief, claiming violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the blanket policy of strip-searching and cavity searching all pre-arraignment detainees without reasonable suspicion was a violation of the plaintiff's right to due process and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and violated established Supreme Court precedent in Bell v. Wolfish.
Between 2006 and 2008, the plaintiff, the putative class representative, was arrested several times in Santa Cruz County on various minor offenses. Each time, when he was detained in the Santa Cruz County Jail, he was, in the company of other detainees and in full view of others, required to stand naked, lift his genitals, and expose his anus for visual inspection. This was a routine procedure that all detainees at the jail were compelled to undergo.
The class was never certified because the case settled before the defendants and plaintiffs litigated class certification.
On January 15, 2009, the Court (Judge Raner C. Collins) entered an unpublished order approving a stipulated settlement that would dismiss the case with prejudice, after a fairness hearing.
In the Stipulated Settlement Agreement, the County agreed to pay 3.2 million dollars to a fund from which class members could claim damages. The class was described as people who had been subjected to strip and cavity searches without reasonable suspicion in the Santa Cruz County Jail, with the named plaintiff to receive $50,000. Attorney fees were awarded in the amount of $725,000. No injunctive-like provisions were included in the Stipulated Settlement.
The fairness hearing was held on July 13, 2009, and the Court approved the settlement, and dismissed the case the same day. The case has been closed.Blase Kearney - 07/10/2012