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Case Name Edwards v. Red Hills Community Probation CJ-GA-0010
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00067-LJA ( M.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Southern Center for Human Rights
Case Summary
On April 10, 2015, five indigent probationers brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against Red Hills Community Probation, its ... read more >
On April 10, 2015, five indigent probationers brought this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law against Red Hills Community Probation, its employees, and city police officers. Red Hills is a private probation company that contracts with local Georgia governments to supervise probation cases in municipal courts.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, class certification, and damages, claiming that the defendants operate an unconstitutional and fraudulent probation system. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had a longstanding practice of detaining indigent probationers to coerce immediate payment of city court fines and probation supervision fees. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that Red Hills falsely represented to former probationers that they were required to continue to report to Red Hills personnel and continue to pay fines and fees even after the probationers' sentences were complete.

On September 17, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for consent order, indicating they had reached an agreement with the defendants resolving all of their claims. On February 1, 2016, Judge Leslie J. Abrams issued the consent order. According to the consent order, the defendants were to ensure that (1) probation officers would not attempt to arrest probationers for failure to pay fines or fees without a good-faith and objective belief that the probationer had the ability to pay; (2) probation officers were to instruct probationer to request that his or her friends or family pay the probationer’s fines or fees; and (3) probation officers, the Court, and all City employees follow all laws regarding the treatment of probationers. The consent order also mandated training for the probation officers and that all probationers be advised of their rights. The consent order was to remain in place for four years.

On March 1, 2016, the parties filed stipulation of dismissal. The case is now closed, though the court retained jurisdiction to enforce the consent order.

Robert Lake - 06/16/2015
Virginia Weeks - 02/18/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Courts
Discharge & termination plans
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) City of Bainbridge
City of Pelham
Red Hills Community Probation, LLC
Plaintiff Description Five indigent probationers, individually and on behalf of a putative class similarly situated and affected
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Center for Human Rights
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
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 2016 - 2020
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:15-cv-67 (M.D. Ga.)
CJ-GA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-GA-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order [ECF# 31] (M.D. Ga.)
CJ-GA-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Abrams, Leslie Joyce (M.D. Ga.)
CJ-GA-0010-0002 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Geraghty, Sarah E. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0001 | CJ-GA-0010-0002 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Primerano, Ryan (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0001 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Weber, Gerald R. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0001 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hyde, W. Brent (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0002 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Rollins, Raleigh W. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0002 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Smith, J. Holder Jr. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-0002 | CJ-GA-0010-9000
Spurlin, John C. (Georgia)
CJ-GA-0010-9000

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