On October 21, 2015, an arrestee filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiff sued the City of Dodge City, Kansas and Ford County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201. The plaintiff alleged that the Dodge City's wealth-based post-arrest detention ...
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On October 21, 2015, an arrestee filed this lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiff sued the City of Dodge City, Kansas and Ford County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201. The plaintiff alleged that the Dodge City's wealth-based post-arrest detention scheme violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiff sought declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and a declaration that the City's wealth-based detention practices are unlawful.
The plaintiff, a Native American citizen of Dodge City, was arrested and held at the Ford County Jail because he could not pay $250 to the City of Dodge City. In Dodge City, arrestees faced two different outcomes depending on their wealth status. Wealthy arrestees paid an amount set by the bail schedule and were not held in jail. Poor arrestees were put in jail for 48 hours because they could not afford to pay the City's pre-determined amount of money for their offense, which ranged from $250-$2500. Under the City's scheme, the sole criterion for determining whether a pretrial arrestee walked free or sat in jail was the amount of money that he had. Because arrestees were released after only two days, Dodge City's money bail system is not designed to ensure appearance in court. The plaintiff alleged that Dodge City's policy and practice of using a fixed "bail schedule" to determine the amount of money necessary to secure post-arrest release, and their practice of requiring cash up-front to avoid post-arrest detention violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.
The plaintiff sought to certify a class on behalf of himself and all other arrestees unable to pay for their release pursuant to Dodge City's fixed bail schedule who were, are, or who will become in the custody of Dodge City.
On November 25, 2015 and on February 24, 2016, the court (Judge Teresa J. James) granted motions to stay all proceedings to allow the parties to explore a non-litigation resolution.
On April 22, 2016, the parties submitted a joint motion for entry of final declaratory and injunctive relief and joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice. On April 26, 2016, the court (Judge Daniel D. Crabtree) issued an order pursuant to the motion. The court issued a declaratory judgment, stating that persons cannot, consistently with the Equal Protection Clause, be held in custody after a non-warrant arrest because they are too poor to post a monetary bond. It also entered an injunction, ordering the release of individuals arrested for non-warrant arrests in Dodge City for violation of municipal ordinances on Own Recognizance Bonds without further conditions of release and without requiring posting any monetary bond. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s motion for class certification, motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, and remaining claims with prejudice. The court retains jurisdiction to enforce the injunction.Rachel June-Graber - 11/02/2015
Julie Singer - 02/27/2017