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Case Name Caliste v. Cantrell CJ-LA-0008
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-06197 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Case Summary
On June 27, 2017, pre-trial detainees at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s office filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the magistrate judge of the Criminal District Court alleging unlawful bail setting practices. ... read more >
On June 27, 2017, pre-trial detainees at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s office filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the magistrate judge of the Criminal District Court alleging unlawful bail setting practices. Plaintiffs claimed that defendant violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause by keeping them in jail post-arrest when they could not afford the bail set by defendant. Plaintiffs allege that defendant’s practice of regularly setting a $2,500 minimum financial condition, without considering arrestees' inability to pay or other non-financial alternatives, violates plaintiffs’ fundamental rights. Plaintiffs further claimed that defendant violated the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause by holding a dual role of determining pre-trial release conditions and managing the courts finances, thereby creating an institutional conflict of interest and depriving plaintiffs of a neutral tribunal. By requiring detainees to pay their bail amounts as a commercial surety instead of in cash, plaintiffs allege that defendant enforces a mechanism whereby bail payments generate revenue for the court and directly benefit defendant’s office. Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgement.

The next day, plaintiffs moved to certify their class for all similarly situated detainees who are unable to pay the financial condition imposed by defendant as a requirement for their immediate release.

In July 2017, defendant moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for two reasons. First, the defendant claimed that that putative class members whose criminal proceedings have ended no longer have standing and are therefore unlikely to be injured. Secondly, the defendant claimed that since there are ongoing state court criminal proceedings against named plaintiffs and other class members, a federal proceeding will interfere with the state court’s ability to handle these proceedings.

On August 25, 2017, Judge Eldon E. Fallon denied the defendant's motion to dismiss, reasoning that there were still named and proposed class members with ongoing case criminal cases who had ongoing and actual injuries. The court also found that the plaintiffs did not have an adequate opportunity to raise issues of bond policies in the relevant state courts, and so the issue of federal proceedings interfering with state court did not apply.

On November 7, 2017, the defendant again moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that the defendant magistrate judge is not the proper defendant on plaintiffs’ claim of unconstitutionality.

As of November 16, 2017, this case is ongoing.

Elena Malik - 11/17/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Bail
Conflict of interest
Fines/Fees
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Harry E. Cantrell
Plaintiff Description All presumptively innocent arrestees who are now before or who will come before Defendant for proceedings concerning pretrial release or detention and who are unable to pay the financial condition that Defendant imposes as a requirement for their immediate release.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
MacArthur Justice Center, New Orleans
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
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)
2:17-cv-06197 (E.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-LA-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Magistrate Judge Harry E. Cantrell's FRCP 21 b(1) Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 12]
CJ-LA-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum In Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 25]
CJ-LA-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order & Reasons [ECF# 44] (E.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) Defenses, Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Jury Request In Response to Class Action Complaint [ECF# 66]
CJ-LA-0008-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Fallon, Eldon E. (E.D. La.)
CJ-LA-0008-0004 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
North, Michael B. Court not on record [Magistrate]
CJ-LA-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Foley, Eric Andrew (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0008-0001 | CJ-LA-0008-0003 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-LA-0008-0001 | CJ-LA-0008-0003 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Schwartzmann, Katie M (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0008-0001 | CJ-LA-0008-0003 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brustowicz, Celeste (California)
CJ-LA-0008-0002 | CJ-LA-0008-0005 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Doubleday, Elizabeth A. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0008-0002 | CJ-LA-0008-0005 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Phayer, Dennis J. (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0008-0002 | CJ-LA-0008-0005 | CJ-LA-0008-9000
Tankersley, Christopher Kent (Louisiana)
CJ-LA-0008-0002 | CJ-LA-0008-0005 | CJ-LA-0008-9000

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