University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Morales v. Findley PC-IL-0039
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-07572 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
On October 22, 2013, five parolees in custody or under supervision of the Illinois Department of Corrections filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by the Uptown People's Law Center, the plaintiffs sued the Chairman of the ... read more >
On October 22, 2013, five parolees in custody or under supervision of the Illinois Department of Corrections filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented by the Uptown People's Law Center, the plaintiffs sued the Chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB) and the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They alleged that the defendants violated the Due Process Clause by subjecting the plaintiffs to fundamentally unfair and procedurally flawed parole review proceedings, and they sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The suit was brought on behalf of all parolees in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections facing parole revocation. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the PRB and DOC failed to:
  • appoint counsel to represent indigent parolees in revocation hearings;
  • provide adequate written notice of allegations and evidence against parolees;
  • allow parolees to develop evidence in advance of their hearings;
  • allow parolees the opportunity to speak on their own behalf at hearings;
  • allow parolees to access legal materials required for meaningful participation;
  • allow parolees to present written evidence and witnesses at hearings;
  • provide a hearing before a fair and impartial decision maker;
  • allow parolees to remain silent during proceedings; and
  • allow parolees to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses at the preliminary and final hearing.
Plaintiffs alleged that the process of the parole revocation proceedings amounted to essentially a rubber stamp of the recommendations of supervising parole agents.

Shortly after the filing of the suit, the parties began extensive settlement negotiations and the court stayed discovery. In February 2015, the parties reached an impasse in their negotiations and requested that the stay on discovery be lifted. Then the parties engaged in significant discovery. In February 2016, the parties reengaged in settlement talks, which resulted in a first proposed settlement agreement filed on October 24, 2016. Judge Amy St. Eve granted the parties joint motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement and then the parties proceeded to collect comments and objections from class members.

On January 13, 2017 date, the plaintiffs informed the court that they had a final settlement agreement and submitted to the court. On January 25, 2017, Judge Amy J. St. Eve granted final approval of a class action settlement agreement and dismissed the case with prejudice. The Parole Review Board will appoint counsel to represent each qualified alleged parole violator. Counsel will be paid by the PRB, or the PRB may arrange to secure volunteer private counsel and supervised law students who may serve pro bono.

The parties stipulated that the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center would create a handbook of legal resources and information that the defendants will distribute to all parolees. The IDOC agreed to make its best efforts to provide those in its custody facing parole revocation hearings for offenses in its facilities with access to means of communicating with others who might be able to provide relevant eyewitness or character testimony or other evidence.

The parties jointly selected a monitor to ensure that the defendant is complying with the agreement and will report to the parties on the status of compliance. In this role, the monitor will meet with parolees, observe hearings, and may examine IDOC and PRB records to determine if the defendants are in compliance with the agreement. Defendants also agreed to pay plaintiffs counsel $225,000 for compensation. The monitor is to file a report in one year and then every six months after. The settlement is set to terminate in 24 months from the date of approval, on January 25, 2019.

Lori Interlicchio - 03/16/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Illinois
Illinois
Plaintiff Description Men and women who are in the custody of or under the supervision of the Illinois Department of Corrections and who are at risk of imprisonment without adequate due process with respect to parole revocation proceedings.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:13-cv-7572 (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0039-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-IL-0039-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/22/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 48]
PC-IL-0039-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Expert Access to IDOC Facilities [ECF# 76]
PC-IL-0039-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Settlement Agreement [ECF# 133]
PC-IL-0039-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Regarding Class Certification] [ECF# 136] (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0039-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges St. Eve, Amy J. (N.D. Ill.)
PC-IL-0039-0003 | PC-IL-0039-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bedi, Sheila A. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-0001 | PC-IL-0039-0002 | PC-IL-0039-0004 | PC-IL-0039-0005 | PC-IL-0039-9000
del Valle, Vanessa (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-0004 | PC-IL-0039-9000
Mills, Alan S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-0001 | PC-IL-0039-0002 | PC-IL-0039-0004 | PC-IL-0039-0005 | PC-IL-0039-9000
Van Brunt, Alexa A. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-0001 | PC-IL-0039-0002 | PC-IL-0039-0004 | PC-IL-0039-0005 | PC-IL-0039-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Beltran, Deborah Morgan (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-9000
Bhave, Sunil Shashikant (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-9000
Dierkes, Michael T. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0039-9000

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