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Case Name Tyler v. Percich JC-MO-0004
Docket / Court 74-40 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On January 18, 1974, inmates of the St. Louis City Jail filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against the City of St. Louis, its Department of Public Safety, and the St. Louis Sheriff. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On January 18, 1974, inmates of the St. Louis City Jail filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against the City of St. Louis, its Department of Public Safety, and the St. Louis Sheriff. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, sought injunctive relief, alleging that overcrowding at the St. Louis City Jail produced conditions which violated the inmates' constitutional rights. The United States initially participated as amicus curiae.

On October 2, 1974, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Judge John K. Regan) ordered the closure of the St. Louis City Jail. The court stayed its order for 30 days to allow the city to improve conditions at the jail. To avoid closure, the court ordered the St. Louis Jail (1) to have two guards on each floor at all times, (2) to follow cell occupancy limits, (3) to cease giving inmates authority over one another, and (4) to promptly transport sick and injured inmates to medical facilities. The court also capped jail capacity at 228 prisoners.

The City appealed. The file contains internal documents showing that the United States considered filing an amicus curiae brief to represent the federal government's interest in litigation involving a recently surveyed facility. On the court's order, the United States' status was changed from amicus curiae to intervener for the plaintiff on December 10, 1974.

On December 29, 1975, the court denied motions by the United States to enjoin the city (1) from transferring prisoners from the St. Louis City Jail to other facilities in the county and (2) to improve visitation and recreation for inmates. First, the United States challenged the practice of housing overflow detainees at Central Police Holdover because conditions at Holdover were more restrictive than at the jail. Second, the United States alleged that visitation facilities and recreational opportunities were too scarce for all inmates to enjoy their benefits.

The Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice initially recommended that the United States appeal the denial on March 1, 1976. By April 20, 1976, it appears that the Department of Justice had abandoned that plan because to appeal would be effectively to ask the court to hold the St. Louis Jail to higher standards than 90% of the facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. On March 29, 1977, the Civil Rights Division recommended the case be closed, which was done on April 7, 1977.

On September 19, 1977, the matter was reopened for investigation of alleged double-celling. The Department of Justice chose not to pursue the allegations because double-celling had ended when the jail finished remodeling its facilities.

In 1982, the plaintiffs asked the court to hold the defendants in contempt of court for housing more than 228 prisoners at the St. Louis Jail. During evidentiary hearings, it became apparent that the St. Louis Jail still regularly housed overflow inmates at the Holdover. The court concluded that Holdover had effectively become an extension of the jail and, therefore, was subject to the terms of the injunction. Conditions in the overflow facilities, however, fell far below the mark. For instance, prisoners at Holdover could not wash their hands or shower, had no beds to sleep on, and were given neither towels nor toilet paper. Prisoners also lacked clean clothing, bedding, and toothbrushes.

On September 4, 1984, the court (Judge Clyde S. Cahill, Jr.) ordered that Holdover be closed as a jail facility and decreed that no prisoner would be held at Holdover for more than twenty-four hours. Tyler v. United States v. Schweitzer, 602 F. Supp. 476 (E.D. Mo. 1984). Although the court found the City in contempt, it concluded that a court order was not necessary because the City had already voluntarily taken remedial steps. The court also set a new population cap for the St. Louis City Workhouse, which it thought could be used to house jail overflow. The court awarded the plaintiffs attorney's fees and costs.

On April 11, 1990, the court increased the population cap for the St. Louis City Workhouse from 450 inmates to 481. Tyler v. United Stats v. Murphy, 737 F. Supp. 531 (E.D. Mo. 1990). The court mandated increases in staff and ordered the city to maintain per-inmate food, clothing, medical and dental expenditures. The court also ordered the City to submit a plan for electronic shackling and house arrest. The court discussed the social problems that contribute to jail overcrowding and suggested that simply building more jails would not necessarily resolve the problem. The court suggested that jail overcrowding could be addressed by expediting criminal trials, increasing the use of bail bonds, home arrest, and closing the jail to military arrestees, parole violators, and convicts awaiting other trials.

From 1993 to 1994, the court considered the problem that parole violators posed for already overcrowded jails. The court placed caps on the number of parole violators who could be housed at the Workhouse. In 1994, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ordered the lower court to reconsider the cap on parole violators. On September 16, 1996, the District Court issued an order capping at twenty the number of parole violators who could be detained at the Workhouse. The court's order required the Workhouse to release parole violators arrested after the facility was at capacity, even if open beds were available. When the district court refused the St. Louis Sheriff's request to dissolve the injunction pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the Sheriff appealed. On February 5, 1998, the Eighth Circuit (Judge James B. Loken) reversed, holding that the injunction should be dissolved under the PLRA because it predated the PLRA. Tyler v. Murphy, 135 F.3d 594 (8th Cir. 1998).

In April 1999, the City of St. Louis announced that the St. Louis City Jail would be demolished and replaced by a new facility, scheduled to be complete in 2002. On April 6, 2000, the parties entered a stipulation for dismissal of the case, which the court (Judge Carol E. Jackson) approved. On May 24, 2000, the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees and costs.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 06/27/2006

compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Crowding / caseload
Pre-PLRA Population Cap
Bathing and hygiene
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Recreation / Exercise
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) St. Louis City Jail
Plaintiff Description All persons who are now confined, or have been confined, or will be confined in the City Jail of St. Louis.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1974 - 1998
Filed 01/18/1974
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Judicial Policy-Making in Institutional Reform Litigation: Analysis of an Activist Bench in the Saint Louis City Jail Case
Date: Sep. 15, 2006
By: Terri B. Payne (Washington University Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

74-40 (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/11/1994
4:74-cv-00040-CEJ (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/02/1974
Memorandum Opinion (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0033.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/1974
Memorandum for the Solicitor General
JC-MO-0004-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/1974
JC-MO-0004-0040.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/10/1974
Memorandum of the U.S. in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Amend Judgment
JC-MO-0004-0039.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/20/1975
Motion of U.S. for Injunctive Relief
JC-MO-0004-0037.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/1975
Reply Memorandum to United States Memorandum
JC-MO-0004-0038.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/1975
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0036.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/11/1975
Partial Consent Decree (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0034.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/1975
Motion of the Bar Association to File Amicus Curiae in Support of United States
JC-MO-0004-0035.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/1975
Memorandum of Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiff-Intervenor's Motion for a Restraining Order
JC-MO-0004-0041.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/1975
Memorandum for the Solicitor General
JC-MO-0004-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/1976
Recommendation of Amicus participation on Appeal
JC-MO-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/1976
Notice to Close File
JC-MO-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/1977
Correspondence: Tyler v. Percich & U.S., amicus curiae
JC-MO-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/1977
Notice to Close File
JC-MO-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/19/1977
Correspondence (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/1982
Order & Memorandum (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/1984
Memorandum (602 F.Supp. 476) (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0043.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/31/1984
Source: Google Scholar
Interim Order (737 F.Supp. 531) (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0042.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/11/1990
Source: Google Scholar
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/1994
Defendant's Plan for Construction of Additional Detention Facilities and Other Related Matters
JC-MO-0004-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/1994
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/1994
JC-MO-0004-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/1994
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/08/1994
Courtroom Minute Sheet
JC-MO-0004-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/1994
Plaintiffs' Concurrence with Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Adding State as a Party
JC-MO-0004-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/1994
State's Suggestions in Opposition to Join State as Party Defendant
JC-MO-0004-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/14/1994
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/1995
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/1995
Suggestions of City Regarding the Effect on this Case of the Helms Amendment
JC-MO-0004-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/1995
JC-MO-0004-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/1995
Defendant's Memorandum in Oppositionto Plaintiffs' Motion to Return Prisoners to Missouri and for Contempt
JC-MO-0004-0029.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/1995
Order (E.D. Mo.)
JC-MO-0004-0030.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/1996
JC-MO-0004-0031.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/1996
JC-MO-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/1997
Findings Letter
JC-MO-0004-0032.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/21/1997
Reported Opinion (135 F.3d 594)
JC-MO-0004-0044.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/05/1998
Source: Google Scholar
ACLU Newsletter Article
JC-MO-0004-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/01/1999
Consent Dismissal
JC-MO-0004-0028.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2000
show all people docs
Judges Bright, Myron H. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0040 | JC-MO-0004-0044
Cahill, Clyde S. Jr. (E.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0014 | JC-MO-0004-0015 | JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0042 | JC-MO-0004-0043
Jackson, Carol E. (E.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0024 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0028 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Lay, Donald Pomery (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Regan, John Keating (E.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0002 | JC-MO-0004-0033 | JC-MO-0004-0036
Webster, William Hedgcock (E.D. Mo., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Behm, James (Missouri) show/hide docs
Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Guilfoil, Thomas (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0014 | JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0038 | JC-MO-0004-0041 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Hamilton, Jean Constance (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0005 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0038
Lawrenz, Jerry (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0017 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0019 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Lazier, Wellington (Missouri) show/hide docs
Moore, Joseph B. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-0042 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9000 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Pottinger, J. Stanley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0011 | JC-MO-0004-0012 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0039
Queen, Jesse H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Shea, Quinlan J. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Short, Barry A. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0005 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0023 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0027 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Susman, Frank (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0013 | JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0017 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0019 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0023 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0026 | JC-MO-0004-0027 | JC-MO-0004-0028 | JC-MO-0004-0029 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-0031 | JC-MO-0004-0032 | JC-MO-0004-0042 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-0044 | JC-MO-0004-9000 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Waxenberg, Michael (Missouri) show/hide docs
Whinston, Stephen A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0004 | JC-MO-0004-0006 | JC-MO-0004-0034 | JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0038 | JC-MO-0004-0039 | JC-MO-0004-0041
Defendant's Lawyers Ahrens, Richard A. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Arthur, Jennifer M. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Banks, Eric K (Missouri) show/hide docs
Belscher, A. Robert (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0038 | JC-MO-0004-0041 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Bennett, James F. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0044 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Carmody, Gerald T. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0028 | JC-MO-0004-0032 | JC-MO-0004-0044 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Coultas, Anthony J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Dierker, Robert H. Jr. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0014 | JC-MO-0004-0043
Downey, Joseph (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0042 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Dylewski, Donald G. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0028 | JC-MO-0004-0032 | JC-MO-0004-0044 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Farmer, Bruce (Missouri) show/hide docs
FitzGibbon, John J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0034 | JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0038 | JC-MO-0004-0041 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Fitzgibbons, John J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Franz, William M. III (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0017 | JC-MO-0004-0019 | JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0023 | JC-MO-0004-0026 | JC-MO-0004-0027 | JC-MO-0004-0029 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Kovac, Stephen J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Lee, Charlie (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Matchefts, James L. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0017 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0019 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0023 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0026 | JC-MO-0004-0027 | JC-MO-0004-0029 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000 | JC-MO-0004-9001
McLaurin, Phillip (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Mummert, Thomas C. III (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0018 | JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Munich, John R. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Murphy, James W. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Nixon, Jeremiah (Jay) W. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Ray, Thomas J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0017 | JC-MO-0004-0019 | JC-MO-0004-0028
Schweitzer, Gordon (Missouri) show/hide docs
Stelzer, Michael F. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Taborn, Tyrone A. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0021 | JC-MO-0004-0026 | JC-MO-0004-0027 | JC-MO-0004-0029
Walsh, Thomas C. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Wilson, Timothy J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0020 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-9000
Witherspoon, Brian (Missouri) show/hide docs
Yates, Carl W III (Missouri) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Arnold, John Fox (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0041
Dittmeier, Thomas E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
Gardner, Gary L. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0023 | JC-MO-0004-0025 | JC-MO-0004-0030 | JC-MO-0004-0042 | JC-MO-0004-9000 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Schultz, Gene (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0014 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Stohr, Donald J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0035 | JC-MO-0004-0037 | JC-MO-0004-0039 | JC-MO-0004-0041 | JC-MO-0004-9001
Thompson, Curtis F. (Missouri) show/hide docs
JC-MO-0004-0014 | JC-MO-0004-0016 | JC-MO-0004-0043 | JC-MO-0004-9001

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