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Case Name Torres v. Collins CJ-TN-0013
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-00026 ( E.D. Tenn )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
Plaintiffs, individuals held in the Hamblen County (TN) jail pre-trial due to an inability to pay bail, filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, on February 16, 2020, on behalf of themselves and all other past and future detainees in the jail unable ... read more >
Plaintiffs, individuals held in the Hamblen County (TN) jail pre-trial due to an inability to pay bail, filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, on February 16, 2020, on behalf of themselves and all other past and future detainees in the jail unable to make bail. They sued officials in the Hamblen County Court system and the Hamblen County Sheriff for what they alleged were unconstitutional bail practices. The plaintiffs were represented by the Civil Rights Corps, the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) at the Georgetown University Law Center, and private counsel.

The plaintiffs specifically alleged that because they were unable to make bail they were forced to remain in a jail that consistently operates at over 150 percent capacity. They claimed that this creates a two-tier system of justice between the rich and poor in the county, saying that some of the county's poorest residents are shackled to the jail's walls and door handles or forced to sleep in closets with an inability to regularly access legal counsel before trial. The Hamblen County Sheriff himself described the facility as a "cesspool of a dungeon" in a December 2019 New York Times article.

The plaintiffs made their claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 28 U.S.C. 2201. They claimed a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection and due process rights to not be detained pre-trial based on their inability to access money, procedural due process, and the Sixth Amendment's right to access counsel. They sought class certification, a temporary restraining order releasing the named plaintiffs, injunctive relief from future pre-trial detention solely on the basis of wealth, attorney's fees, and costs.

The case was assigned to Judge Clifton L. Corker and is ongoing. No class certification or order on injunctive relief has yet been made. A motion seeking a temporary restraining order was dismissed as moot on March 2, 2020, perhaps because the named plaintiffs were able to leave the jail for other reasons.

Ellen Aldin - 05/21/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Conditions of confinement
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Placement in detention facilities
Poverty/homelessness
Restraints : physical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Hamblen County Court
Hamblen County Sherriff
Plaintiff Description Individuals held in the Hamblen County (TN) jail pre-trial due to an inability to pay bail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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
Filed 02/16/2020
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)
  Hamblen County, TN: Bail
http://www.civilrightscorps.org/
Date: Mar. 22, 2020
By: Civil Rights Corps
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:20-cv-00026 (E.D. Tenn)
CJ-TN-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-TN-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Corker, Clifton Leland (E.D. Tenn) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Backer, Jonathan L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
Lewis, George Tolbert III (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
McCord, Mary B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
Mikkilineni, Tara (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
Umana, ImeIme (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
Wayne, Seth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
White, Matthew G. (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-0001 | CJ-TN-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Burchette, Caitlin C. (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-9000
Knight, Arthur F. III (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-9000
Magacs, Hilary (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-9000
Taylor, Jonathan Swann (Tennessee) show/hide docs
CJ-TN-0013-9000

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