University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Sigma-Beta-XI v. Riverside CJ-CA-0021
Docket / Court 5:18-cv-01399 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
National Center for Youth Law
Case Summary
On July 1 2018, Sigma Beta Xi (a non-profit organization) and three children filed this class action in the Central District of California. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, National Center for Youth Law, and private counsel, sued the County of Riverside under state law and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ... read more >
On July 1 2018, Sigma Beta Xi (a non-profit organization) and three children filed this class action in the Central District of California. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, National Center for Youth Law, and private counsel, sued the County of Riverside under state law and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as nominal damages. They claimed that Riverside's Youth Accountability Team (YAT) program violated their constitutional and state rights.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that:
    the defendants' application of the program was unconstitutionally vague;
    the defendants did not give children adequate notice of charges against them, and used coercion and other misleading tactics to induce them to enter the YAT program without their informed consent;
    the defendants searched the homes, belongings, and persons of the children in the YAT program;
    the defendants prohibited children in the YAT program from associating with anyone the program did not approve of;
    the YAT program had a significant adverse impact on Black and Latinx children
The plaintiffs requested injunctive relief to enjoin the defendant from engaging in the YAT program practices that violated the plaintiffs' rights.

On September 5, the defendant filed an answer to the complaint, denying generally and specifically the plaintiff's allegations. They stated that the purpose of the YAT program was to "divert certain youth from the juvenile justice system and instead handle them in an informal, treatment-oriented manner, including, without limitation, the provision of school attendance and behavior monitoring, mentoring, and involvement in pro-social activities" and not, as plaintiffs claimed, to "target, ensnare, and discriminate against children in...schools in Riverside County, by stripping them of their constitutional rights and treating them like criminals."

The individual plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion to be certified as a class on September 13, 2018. On the September 17, 2018, and the court granted their motion after determining that the children satisfied the necessary elements of a class (numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy). The class was certified as:
All children in Riverside County who have been referred to the Riverside County Youth Accountability Team ("YAT") program pursuant to Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 601, and who had either been placed on a YAT probation contract or had been referred but not yet placed on a YAT probation contract.
As of October 2018, the case is ongoing.

Esther Vinarov - 09/28/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disciplinary procedures
Disparate Impact
Juveniles
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Riverside County
Plaintiff Description All children in Riverside County who have been referred to the Riverside County Youth Accountability Team ("YAT") program pursuant to Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 601, and who had either been placed on a YAT probation contract or had been referred but not yet placed on a YAT probation contract.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU of Northern California
ACLU of Southern California
National Center for Youth Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection

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