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Case Name CRIPA Investigation of the Shelby County Juvenile Court CJ-TN-0006
Docket / Court NA ( No Court )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On August 11, 2009, the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") began an investigation of the administration of juvenile justice for children facing delinquency charges before the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County ("JCMSC") and the conditions of confinement at ... read more >
On August 11, 2009, the United States Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") began an investigation of the administration of juvenile justice for children facing delinquency charges before the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County ("JCMSC") and the conditions of confinement at the detention center operated by JCMSC. The investigation was conducted pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. In its April 26, 2012 findings report, the DOJ concluded that JCMSC failed to protect the rights of children appearing before it on delinquency matters by neglecting to (1) provide constitutionally required due process, (2) administer justice in a non-discriminatory manner, and (3) provide reasonably safe conditions of confinement.

JCMSC processes more than 11,000 delinquency matters each year arising in the city of Memphis and other communities in Shelby County, Tennessee. The DOJ investigation included a comprehensive review of JCMSC's policies and practices, including observing delinquency hearings; reviewing documents, case files, and statistical data; and interviewing court personnel, probation counselors, detained youths, and attorneys. The DOJ ultimately concluded that JCMSC failed to provide timely and adequate notice of charges to children appearing on delinquency matters; failed to protect children from self-incrimination during probation conferences; failed to hold timely probable cause hearings; and failed to provide adequate due process protections before transferring children to adult criminal court. The DOJ also concluded that JCMSC administered justice in a discriminatory manner and that black children were disproportionately represented in almost every phase of the Shelby County juvenile justice system. Finally, the DOJ concluded that JCMSC used dangerous and excessive restraint techniques to detain children. Rather than diverting children or releasing them to a parent or guardian, JCMSC subjected children to dangerous and excessive restraint chair techniques and pressure point control tactics and failed to protect them from self-harm.

On December 17, 2012, the parties entered a settlement agreement. The agreement mandated that JCMSC immediately develop and implement specific policies and training and review mechanisms to guarantee due process and equal protection and to ensure reasonably safe conditions of confinement. Two monitors and a facility consultant were appointed to assess compliance with the settlement agreement. The parties agreed that these individuals would conduct compliance reviews four months after the date of the agreement and every six months thereafter until the agreement was terminated. The parties agreed that the agreement would terminate when JCMSC achieved substantial compliance with all substantive provisions of the agreement and maintained that compliance for 12 consecutive months. As of July 2018, the monitors and consultant have issued eleven reports covering due process compliance, the most recent in June 2018, and ten reports covering equal protection compliance, the most recent in December 2017. The most recent due process report, although highlighting several remaining areas of concern, concluded that JCMSC had achieved substantial compliance with all but nine requirements of the agreement and appeared to be making progress with complying with the remaining ones. The most recent equal protection report, on the other hand, indicated that racial disparities at each stage had stayed the same or even widened over time. Although the report said that JCSMC appeared to be making serious efforts to address these disparities, it also noted a continuing failure on its part to take the findings of past compliance reports into account, and a continuing lack of changes in existing procedures and policies, especially at the referral, detention, and non-judicial stages.

The agreement is still in effect.

Nate West - 11/02/2014
Alexander Walling - 07/23/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Hire
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Commitment procedure
Conditions of confinement
Courts
Disciplinary procedures
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Failure to train
Juveniles
Placement in detention facilities
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Shelby County, Tennessee
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Filing Year 2012
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program Faculty)
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Success in Shelby County: A Roadmap to Systemic Juvenile Reform
Date: 2014
By: Sandra Simkins (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Camden Faculty)
Citation: University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2014
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Investigation of the Shelby County Juvenile Court
CJ-TN-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Investigation of the Shelby County Juvenile Court
CJ-TN-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum of Agreement Regarding the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County
CJ-TN-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Department of Justice Enters into Agreement to Reform the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee
CJ-TN-0006-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/18/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #1—April 2013
CJ-TN-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Provisions from Memorandum of Agreement
CJ-TN-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/05/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (JCMSC) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: Draft Findings Recommendations Letter
CJ-TN-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
First Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1: DOJ Mandated Training –Bold DMC Related
CJ-TN-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment of Shelby County’s Juvenile Detention Facility
CJ-TN-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #2
CJ-TN-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (JCMSC) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 2nd Draft Findings and Recommendations Letter
CJ-TN-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/30/2013
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Fourth Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0022.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/12/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Second Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1 – Assessment Study
CJ-TN-0006-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment of Shelby County’s Juvenile Detention Facility
CJ-TN-0006-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #3
CJ-TN-0006-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Third Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1 – Assessment Study
CJ-TN-0006-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Juvenile Court) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 4th Findings and Recommendations Letter
CJ-TN-0006-0020.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/04/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment of Juvenile Court’s Detention Facility
CJ-TN-0006-0019.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/08/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #4—October 2014
CJ-TN-0006-0021.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/15/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1 – Assessment Study
CJ-TN-0006-0023.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/13/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Juvenile Court) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 5th Findings and Recommendations Letter
CJ-TN-0006-0025.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/22/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Assessment of Shelby County's Juvenile Detention Facility
CJ-TN-0006-0024.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/25/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #5—April 2015
CJ-TN-0006-0026.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/03/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Fifth Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0027.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/03/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1 – 4th Assessment Study: Part of 5th Equal Protection Compliance Report
CJ-TN-0006-0028.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/03/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Juvenile Court) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 6th Findings and Recommendations Letter
CJ-TN-0006-0029.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/17/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Sixth Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0031.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/18/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #6—October 2015
CJ-TN-0006-0030.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/22/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #7— April 2016
CJ-TN-0006-0033.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/10/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Juvenile Court) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 7th Report of Findings and Recommendations
CJ-TN-0006-0032.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/15/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Seventh Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0034.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/17/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Appendix 1 – 5th Assessment Study: Part of 5th Equal Protection Compliance Report
CJ-TN-0006-0035.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/17/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Eighth Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0038.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/22/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Sheriff’s Department) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulations: 8th Report of Findings and Recommendations
CJ-TN-0006-0036.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/08/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #8 - September 2016
CJ-TN-0006-0037.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/22/2016
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Sheriff’s Department) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulation 9th Report of Findings and Recommendations
CJ-TN-0006-0039.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/17/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Report #9 - April 2017
CJ-TN-0006-0040.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/13/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Ninth Compliance Report – Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0041.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/01/2017
Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County (Sheriff's Department) MOA Protection from Harm Stipulation 10th Report of Findings and Recommendations
CJ-TN-0006-0042.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/28/2017
Tenth Compliance Report - Equal Protection
CJ-TN-0006-0044.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/19/2017
Compliance Report #10 - October 2017
CJ-TN-0006-0043.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/03/2018
RE: Compliance Report #11 - April 2018
CJ-TN-0006-0045.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/06/2018
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Monitors/Masters Glos, Bernard (Illinois)
CJ-TN-0006-0042
Lieber, Michael (Florida)
CJ-TN-0006-0041 | CJ-TN-0006-0044
Roush, David W. (New York)
CJ-TN-0006-0020 | CJ-TN-0006-0025 | CJ-TN-0006-0029 | CJ-TN-0006-0036
Simkins, Sandra (New Jersey)
CJ-TN-0006-0026 | CJ-TN-0006-0030 | CJ-TN-0006-0033 | CJ-TN-0006-0037 | CJ-TN-0006-0040 | CJ-TN-0006-0043 | CJ-TN-0006-0045
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Gayle, Winsome (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003 | CJ-TN-0006-0024
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0001 | CJ-TN-0006-0003
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
CJ-TN-0006-0003 | CJ-TN-0006-0007 | CJ-TN-0006-0019
Stanton, Edward L. III (Tennessee)
CJ-TN-0006-0003

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