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Case Name Edwards v. Cofield CJ-AL-0016
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-00321 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Equal Justice Under Law
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On May 18, 2017, a 29-year old pregnant army veteran filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The plaintiff sued the Sheriff, Court Clerk, Court Magistrate, and District Court Judge of Randolph County under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 28 U.S.C ... read more >
On May 18, 2017, a 29-year old pregnant army veteran filed this class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The plaintiff sued the Sheriff, Court Clerk, Court Magistrate, and District Court Judge of Randolph County under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 28 U.S.C. §2201. The plaintiff, represented by Equal Justice Under Law, the ACLU, Civil Rights Corps, and Southern Poverty Law Center, sough declaratory and injunctive relief. She claimed that the county practice of setting predetermined bail amounts without considering a person’s flight risk, the danger they present to the community or whether the person can afford the bail, violated her 14th amendment rights. The plaintiff had been arrested on May 17, 2017. She was not able to afford the $7,500 bail, and so she was told she would remain in jail until June 6, 2017.

The plaintiff also submitted a motion for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and class certification. The proposed class was defined as “all arrestees who are or who will be jailed in Randolph County who are unable to pay the secured monetary bail amount required for their release.”

The same day that the plaintiff filed her complaints and motions, the court (Judge Terry F. Moorer) granted her motion for a temporary restraining order releasing her from jail. Later documents in the case indicate that by the time Judge Moorer had granted the temporary restraining order, Grover Poole Bail Bonding Company had already issued a surety agreement to cover her bond. On May 24th, Judge Grover ordered this bond be converted into a personal recognizance signature bond – meaning the plaintiff would not have to make any payments to the bond company. Based on her release, Judge Grover held the motion for a preliminary injunction was moot on May 25.

On June 1, Judge Grover ordered mediation. As the mediation carried on, the defendants moved to dismiss the case arguing that the defendants had immunity and that the claims were moot because the plaintiff had been released. Judge Grover denied these motions on July 14th, holding that they did not have immunity and that the controversy was not moot because it met the “capable of repetition, yet evading review” standard. 265 F.Supp.3d 1344.

On December 5, Judge Grover ordered the parties to show cause as to why the case shouldn’t be stayed pending the 11th circuit case Walker v. City of Calhoun (CJ-GA-0012), a similar case filed in Georgia. The parties filed these briefs, and nothing further has occurred. The case is ongoing.

Gabriela Hybel - 01/14/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Over/Unlawful Detention
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Randolph County, Alabama
Plaintiff Description A pregnant army veteran who was arrested and who could not afford to pay bail. She sought to represent a class of “all arrestees who are or who will be jailed in Randolph County who are unable to pay the secured monetary bail amount required for their release.”
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Equal Justice Under Law
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing CJ-GA-0012 : Walker v. City of Calhoun (N.D. Ga.)
Docket(s)
3:17-cv-00321 (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-AL-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 9] (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 49] (265 F.Supp.3d 134) (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0016-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Moorer, Terry F. (M.D. Ala.) [Magistrate]
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Watkins, William Keith (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0016-0002 | CJ-AL-0016-0003 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boone, Brock (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Buskey, Brandon (New York)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Marshall, Randall C (Florida)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
West, Micah (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-0001 | CJ-AL-0016-9000
Woods, Andrea (New York)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Albritton, Benjamin Howard (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Chynoweth, Brad A. (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Davis, James William (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Kidd, Jamie Helen (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000
Walker, Jordan Dorman (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0016-9000

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