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Case Name Cruz v. County of Fresno JC-CA-0066
Docket / Court 93-CV-5070 ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection California Jail Population Caps
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Southern California
Prisoners Rights Union
Case Summary
On March 23, 1993, plaintiffs, a class of prisoners incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and ... read more >
On March 23, 1993, plaintiffs, a class of prisoners incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of their First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by the Fresno County Jail. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that the overcrowding due to construction and simple overcrowding made the conditions in the jail unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, and led to deprivation of their other constitutional rights.

The Fresno County Jail is split into three parts: The Main Jail, the North Annex, and the South Annex. At the time plaintiffs made their complaint, the third and fourth floors of the South Annex were being remodeled, requiring jail staff to relocate 434 inmates that were housed there to the North Annex and the Main Jail, leading to severe overcrowding.

As a result, the prison also restricted access to exercise, recreation, religious activities, and the law library. Prisoners were allowed one hour per week for legal research, and two trips per week to a facility that doubled as a space for religious activities. The exercise space was also alleged to not contain enough equipment or room for plaintiffs to adequately exercise.

The plaintiffs alleged that the South Annex, rated for 511 prisoners, was housing over 700. The plaintiffs also alleged that 300 prisoners were sleeping on the floor in the Main Jail, in the common areas, and that the solitary confinement unit had 3 prisoners per cell. They also alleged that the North Annex had 200 prisoners that slept on the floor.

On February 25, 1993, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that would require the defendants to add beds and ensure that no prisoner slept on the floor, and allow compliance monitoring.

On March 9, 1993, the defendants admitted the class status of the plaintiffs and agreed that they currently were exceeding their capacity in the jail system, but denied that it was unconstitutionally overcrowded. However, before the Court could rule on the TRO and the certification motion, the parties reached a consent decree.

On May 25, 1993, the consent decree was modified to give more detail concerning the exact number of beds in each cell block in each facility, and to give the Sheriff the power to release or to refuse to house prisoners when the jail system was at 90% capacity.

On November 3, 1993, the consent decree was again modified to reflect transition of the housing in the jail under a state pilot program into a triple-bunked "general population," double-bunked "special population," and single-bunked "administrative segregation" scheme. The consent decree specifically reserved the issues of law library access and adequacy of exercise for trial.

On February 25, 1994, the parties settled the outstanding recreational issues, providing for one-hour of exercise a day, and up to 20 hours a month, with 1.5 hours being roof-recreation. A few months later, the Court entered a final order approving the settlement agreement and placing the Fresno County Jail under a permanent injunction.

On July 14, 2011, the Fresno County Superior Court filed a motion to intervene in the case. The state court system alleged that, because the Fresno County Jail had closed two floors, the consent decree could not be maintained, and the ability to sentence defendants consistent with California law had been adversely affected.

On December 5, 2011, the defendants and plaintiffs reached another consent decree clarifying the meaning of the word "capacity" in the original consent decree rendering the defendant-intervenor's contentions moot. The Court thereafter denied the State Court's motion to intervene as moot.

This case is still open because of the permanent injunction running against the Fresno County Jail. The plaintiffs also moved for attorney fees, though the Court denied the motion on May 31, 2012. As of January 31, 2018, there has not been any new meaningful litigation.

Blase Kearney - 06/18/2012
Maurice Youkanna - 07/05/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Conditions of confinement
Law library access
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Fresno County
Plaintiff Description Pretrial and Incarcerated detainees at the Fresno County Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Southern California
Prisoners Rights Union
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1993 - n/a
Filing Year 1993
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Case Listing JC-CA-0079 : Mims v. County of Fresno (State Court)
1:93-cv-5070 (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/21/1993
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-CA-0066-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/05/1993
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-CA-0066-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/18/1993
Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Ancillary Relief; Memorandum and Declarations
JC-CA-0066-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/1993
Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-CA-0066-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/03/1993
Order (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/08/1993
Answer to First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
JC-CA-0066-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/09/1993
Points and Authorities in Opposition to Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction
JC-CA-0066-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/15/1993
Stipulation and Order RE: Preliminary Injunction
JC-CA-0066-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/1993
Transcript of Proceedings
JC-CA-0066-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/1993
Stipulation RE: Preliminary and Permanent Injunction (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/1993
InterOffice Memo
JC-CA-0066-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/26/1993
Fresno County Pilot Project: Multiple Occupancy Cell Requirements of Title 15
JC-CA-0066-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/1993
Amended Status Conference Report Sans Exhibits
JC-CA-0066-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/09/1993
Status Conference Report of Plainitiff
JC-CA-0066-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/10/1993
Stipulation Re: Permanent Injunction; Order (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/1993
Joint Status Report
JC-CA-0066-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/10/1993
Stipulation Re: Permanent Injunction; Order (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/1994
Order (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/1994
Motion to Intervene [ECF# 44]
JC-CA-0066-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Modification in RE: Capacity Order [ECF# 92]
JC-CA-0066-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Attorney Fees] [ECF# 104] (2012 WL 1969059) (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0021.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges England, Morrison C. Jr. (E.D. Cal.)
JC-CA-0066-0020 | JC-CA-0066-0021 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Hollows, Gregory G. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0066-0010 | JC-CA-0066-0017 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Moulds, John F. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
JC-CA-0066-0008 | JC-CA-0066-0009 | JC-CA-0066-0014 | JC-CA-0066-9000
O'Neill, Lawrence Joseph (E.D. Cal.)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Campbell, Catherine (California)
JC-CA-0066-0020 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Comiskey, Paul Wayne (California)
JC-CA-0066-0001 | JC-CA-0066-0002 | JC-CA-0066-0003 | JC-CA-0066-0005 | JC-CA-0066-0007 | JC-CA-0066-0008 | JC-CA-0066-0009 | JC-CA-0066-0013 | JC-CA-0066-0014 | JC-CA-0066-0015 | JC-CA-0066-0016 | JC-CA-0066-0020 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Herman, Richard P. (California)
JC-CA-0066-0001 | JC-CA-0066-0002 | JC-CA-0066-0003 | JC-CA-0066-0005 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Long, Michael Donald (California)
JC-CA-0066-0001 | JC-CA-0066-0002 | JC-CA-0066-0003 | JC-CA-0066-0005 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Borchers, Stephanie Hamilton (California)
Briggs, Kevin Burke (California)
Fischbach, Donald Rowland (California)
JC-CA-0066-0019 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Hagar, John H. Jr. (California)
JC-CA-0066-0007 | JC-CA-0066-0009 | JC-CA-0066-0011 | JC-CA-0066-0014 | JC-CA-0066-0020 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Linden, Michael Robert (California)
JC-CA-0066-0020 | JC-CA-0066-9000
Merritt, John Wesley (California)
JC-CA-0066-0004 | JC-CA-0066-0006 | JC-CA-0066-0008 | JC-CA-0066-0009 | JC-CA-0066-0011 | JC-CA-0066-0014 | JC-CA-0066-0015 | JC-CA-0066-0016 | JC-CA-0066-9000

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