University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Sims v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation CJ-CA-0020
Docket / Court 4:07-CV-05040 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
Case Summary
On November 15, 2016, two condemned inmates and the ACLU of Northern California sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The plaintiffs, represented by ACLU lawyers and private counsel, brought this case under California Code Civil Procedure § 527A for a writ of ... read more >
On November 15, 2016, two condemned inmates and the ACLU of Northern California sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The plaintiffs, represented by ACLU lawyers and private counsel, brought this case under California Code Civil Procedure § 527A for a writ of mandate along with declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiff alleged that the California Penal Code § 3604 violated the Separation of Powers Clause in Article III of the California Constitution by allowing an agency (the CDCR) to make controversial policy decisions about lethal injection protocols. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants were illegally expending public funds by performing their duties in violation of the statute. The plaintiffs asked the court to prohibit CDCR from implementing any execution protocol until the statute addressed the separation of powers policy issues. They also sought attorney's fees pursuant to California Code Civil Procedure 1021.5.

The plaintiffs' ultimate goal was to obtain a declaration that Penal Code § 3604 removed difficult and fundamental policy decisions from the political and legislative process with the result that some of these issues have not been consciously evaluated. One of the largest problems cited in the complaint was that the CDCR's new lethal injection protocol reflected the agency's prioritization of convenience over competing policy goals and also haphazard decision making on policy issues.

As of March 11, 2017, the case is still ongoing.

Abigail DeHart - 03/11/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Conflict of interest
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Description Two condemned inmates of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the ACLU of Northern California.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
Date: Aug. 11, 2014
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief: Violation of California Constitution
CJ-CA-0020-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/15/2016
Source: ACLU
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Donald W. (California)
CJ-CA-0020-0001
Lye, Linda (California)
CJ-CA-0020-0001 | CJ-CA-0020-0001

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