University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Daves v. Dallas CJ-TX-0013
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-00154-N ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
On January 21, 2018, eight Texan residents in poverty filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued Dallas County, the Dallas County Sheriff, the Dallas County Magistrate Judges, the Dallas County Criminal Court at Law Judges, and ... read more >
On January 21, 2018, eight Texan residents in poverty filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs sued Dallas County, the Dallas County Sheriff, the Dallas County Magistrate Judges, the Dallas County Criminal Court at Law Judges, and the Dallas County District Court Judges, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project, the Civil Rights Corps, and the Texas Fair Defense Project, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. This case was assigned to Judge David C Godbey.

According to the plaintiffs, arrestees like the named plaintiffs languished in jail cells because they could not afford to pay the amount of money required for their release. They claimed that it was the policy and practice of Dallas County officials to require the generic, predetermined amount for bail without first considering the person’s ability to pay and without making the substantive findings or providing the procedural due process safeguards that the Constitution required. The plaintiffs claimed that, in operating a wealth-based detention system, the defendants had violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

On the same day the complaint was filed, the plaintiff moved for class certification and a preliminary injunction. The class was defined as “[a]ll arrestees who are or will be detained in Dallas County custody because they are unable to pay a secured financial condition of release.” As for the injunction, the plaintiffs asked that the court enjoin the defendant County from enforcing its wealth-based pretrial detention system and order the County to provide the procedural safeguards and substantive findings before detaining any presumptively innocent individuals. Later that month, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding one plaintiff and several defendants.

On March 12, 2018, the defendants filed a motion to stay this case in order to receive guidance from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on the threshold issue of the proper parties implicated by the plaintiffs’ complaints. On May 2, 2018, Judge Godbey denied this motion because Defendants did not present a “clear case of hardship or inequity” as required to justify a stay.

In April 2018, the each of the defendants filed a separate motions to dismiss as to themselves. The County argued that because the Fifth Circuit had recently confirmed that a sheriff’s practice of following judicial bail orders does not give rise to county liability, Dallas County could not be liable for the actions of the District Judges or County Criminal Court at Law Judges. The defendant County claimed that this case was fundamentally about the State of Texas’ judicial system, over which Dallas County had absolutely no control.

The Dallas County Sheriff and the Dallas County Magistrate Judges, in their respective motions, argued that they were not proper parties to this action because neither of them controlled the practices and policies that were relevant to this action. The Dallas County Criminal Court at Law Judges argued that the claims against them should be dismissed because they fell squarely within the parameters of the Paratt/Hudson doctrine and because the plaintiffs’ substantive due process claims were improperly brought under the Fourteenth Amendment as opposed to the Fourth and Eighth Amendments. The Dallas County District Court Judges argued that the claims against them should be dismissed because they lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

As of June 2018, the court has not yet ruled on the motions to dismiss or the plaintiffs’ motions for class certification and preliminary injunction. The case is ongoing.

Jake Parker - 06/13/2018


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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
Law-enforcement
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Bail/Bond
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Placement in detention facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Dallas County, Texas
Plaintiff Description All arrestees who are or will be detained in Dallas County custody because they are unable to pay a secured financial condition of release.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Civil Rights Corps
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:18−cv−00154−N (N.D. Tex.)
CJ-TX-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-TX-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 10]
CJ-TX-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Godbey, David C. (N.D. Tex.)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Buskey, Brandon (New York)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Cohn, Kali Alanna (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Dharia, Premal T. (District of Columbia)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Pringle, Susanne Ashley (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Rossi, Elizabeth Anne (District of Columbia)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Segura, Andre (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Trigilio, Trisha (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-0001 | CJ-TX-0013-0002 | CJ-TX-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anastasiadis, Demetri (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
David, Katharine Davenport (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Harlan, Peter L (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Lindsey, Christopher Lee (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Morgan, Philip James (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Stafford, Michael A. (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000
Stephens, Benjamin R (Texas)
CJ-TX-0013-9000

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