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Case Name Gasca v. Precythe CJ-MO-0022
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-04149 ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization MacArthur Justice Center
Case Summary
Parolees in custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed this class-action lawsuit against MDOC on August 14, 2017. They alleged that MDOC was failing to educate parolees about their right to a hearing; failing to screen parolees to determine whether they qualified for a court- ... read more >
Parolees in custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) filed this class-action lawsuit against MDOC on August 14, 2017. They alleged that MDOC was failing to educate parolees about their right to a hearing; failing to screen parolees to determine whether they qualified for a court-appointed attorney; and failing to provide other procedural rights during the parole revocation process. The plaintiffs, alleging that these failures amounted to a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Represented by the MacArthur Justice Center, they sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Stephen R. Bough.

The lead plaintiff was eight months pregnant when parole officers arrested her for leaving her residential drug rehab program early. Her parole officer led her to believe that it was in her best interest to voluntarily waive her rights to all formal hearings, as a condition for early release. She was not informed of her right to an attorney when she signed a form waiving her final revocation hearing, and she believed that if she signed the waiver she would be released in time to deliver her baby outside of jail. Instead, she was sent to prison, where she remained until five months after her baby was born.

On September 18, 2017, the plaintiffs sought class certification of all parolees that faced or would face parole revocation hearings in Missouri. They filed an amended complaint on October 12, 2017.

MDOC moved to dismiss the amended complaint on October 26, 2017, claiming:
  • that the plaintiffs’ claims were speculative;
  • that MDOC had no authority to provide counsel for parolees;
  • that all claims were barred by judicial immunity;
  • that parole board orders could be directly reviewed, and that judicial review was therefore inappropriate;
  • that the Younger doctrine required the federal court to refrain from interfering with pending state judicial proceedings; and
  • that the Eleventh Amendment and quasi-judicial immunity protected MDOC from damages claims.
On December 5, 2017, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class, holding that they had not met the commonality and typicality requirements for class certification. On December 15, 2017, the court denied MDOC’s motion to dismiss.

The plaintiffs filed another motion for class certification on November 27, 2018; this motion was granted on January 4, 2019, defining the certified class as “All adult parolees in the state of Missouri who currently face, or who in the future will face, parole revocation proceedings.”

Although the court had initially set a trial date for the spring of 2019, in December 2018 it instead ordered the case to mediation. Shortly after this order, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on December 27, 2018. They claimed that the undisputed facts demonstrated that MDOC was not providing counsel as required by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gagnon v. Scarpelli, and that MDOC had failed to meet other minimal due process requirements set forth in prior Supreme Court rulings.

In January 2019, the parties participated in mediation. MDOC admitted that its policies had not been in compliance with Gagnon v. Scarpelli at the time the plaintiffs filed their complaint; however, the Department had since taken corrective measures to remedy these shortcomings. MDOC requested a delayed ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, to allow further progress toward a settlement agreement. The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on February 27, 2019; it is unclear whether a formal settlement agreement had been reached, or what type of remedy had been provided for class members.

On May 15, 2019, a parolee moved pro se to join the class action and to proceed separately, in order to receive individual relief; the court granted this request on May 30, 2019. On November 1, 2019 MDOC sought to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. The court denied this motion on December 19, 2019. The court stated, among other things, that “Defendants have failed to meet their heavy burden to establish it is ‘absolutely clear’ that Defendants’ current revised policies, procedures, and forms pass constitutional muster.”

In April 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for emergency relief in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, requesting that the court issue a writ ordering MDOC to cease parole revocation proceedings. On April 15, 2020, the court held that such a write would “be beyond the scope of this case.”

On August 5, 2020, the court denied MDOC’s motion to decertify the class. This case is ongoing.

Kimberly Goshey - 06/11/2019
Bogyung Lim - 08/10/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Parole grant/revocation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651
Defendant(s) State of Missouri
Plaintiff Description All adult parolees in the state of Missouri who currently face, or who in the future will face, parole revocation proceedings.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MacArthur Justice Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
None yet
Filed 08/14/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Want to Shrink the Prison Population? Look at Parole.
Date: Feb. 11, 2019
By: Beth Schwartzapfel (The Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:17-cv-04149 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-MO-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 23]
CJ-MO-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 42] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 50] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 132] (2019 WL 112789) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 146] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 217] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Relief Pursuant to All Writs Act [ECF# 250]
CJ-MO-0022-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 261] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 320] (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0022-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bough, Stephen Rogers (W.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0003 | CJ-MO-0022-0004 | CJ-MO-0022-0005 | CJ-MO-0022-0006 | CJ-MO-0022-0007 | CJ-MO-0022-0009 | CJ-MO-0022-0010 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bedi, Sheila A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-0008 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Bowman, Locke E. III (Illinois) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-0008 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Breihan, Amy Elizabeth (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-0002 | CJ-MO-0022-0008 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Crane, Megan G (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0001 | CJ-MO-0022-0008 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Mobley, William P (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Quinn, Mae C. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-0002 | CJ-MO-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Elsbury, Laura E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Gonzalez, Anthony (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Hawke, Stephen David (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Kimminau, Matthew G (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Moore, Justin (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Morgan, Jeremiah J. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Pritchett, Michael (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Quinlan, Michael D. (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000
Shull, Doug (Missouri) show/hide docs
CJ-MO-0022-9000

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