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Case Name Sanchez v. Dallas County Sheriff JC-TX-0027
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00832 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class-action complaint brought on April 9, 2020, by nine detainees at the Dallas County Jail, who have either been infected with COVID-19 or are at risk due to underlying conditions, seeking release from detention due to the risks to their health in light of the virus ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a class-action complaint brought on April 9, 2020, by nine detainees at the Dallas County Jail, who have either been infected with COVID-19 or are at risk due to underlying conditions, seeking release from detention due to the risks to their health in light of the virus. The court rejected the request for TRO on April 26. The plaintiffs amended their complaint, but the habeas claims were dismissed again on August 18.


On April 9, 2020, nine individuals detained in Dallas County Jail petitioned for the release of all medically-vulnerable detainees and other detainees who are not medically-vulnerable to reduce the population of the jail so that a six-foot social distance can be maintained. Represented by the ACLU, Civil Rights Corps, and Next Generation Action Network, and private counsel, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. under § 2241, and as an injunctive action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, they alleged that their detention violates their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by subjecting them to a serious risk of contracting COVID-19. The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the detention conditions posed an unreasonable risk against the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights. They also sought a temporary restraining order (TRO), injunctive relief, and a writ of habeas corpus ordering the identification and release of all class members identified as medically vulnerable and further as necessary to ensure reasonable safety. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and assigned to Judge Ada Brown.

Plaintiff Oscar Sanchez, who is being held pretrial on multiple charges, has a history of severe chronic asthma and has begun to show symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. The petition includes eight additional named plaintiffs who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are at risk due to medical conditions. The plaintiffs pointed to the jump in a week from five reported COVID-19 infections of detainees and jail employees to almost 30 as of April 7, 2020, a lack of COVID-19 testing and failure to institute social distancing practices, failure to provide the necessary education and protective equipment for safety and hygiene, and failure to segregate detainees with symptoms and illness from other detainees and guards.

On April 12, the plaintiffs moved to certify the matter as a class action and proposed two classes. The “Pre-Adjudication Class” consisted of current and future detainees in pretrial custody at the Dallas County Jail and further divided with the “Medically-Vulnerable Pre-Adjudication Subclass.” “Medically-Vulnerable” is defined as those over the age of 50 and/or with experiences of medical conditions. The “Post-Adjudication Class” consisted of current and future detainees in post-adjudication custody at the Dallas County Jail, with a subclass of “Medically-Vulnerable Post-Adjudication Subclass.”

The State of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott (who issued an executive order on March 29 prohibiting local officials from releasing dangerous felons from jails), and Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion to intervene in the case the next day due to concerns of releasing criminals, including Billy Chemirmir, who they labeled as "possibly one of the state’s most prolific serial killers.”

In its motion to dismiss on April 15, the defendants argue that the federal court cannot grant the plaintiff’s motion because the inmates have not exhausted other avenues available to them, which they claimed was required under both the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and the rules governing habeas.

The plaintiffs amended their petition with three additional detainees as plaintiffs on April 17. On April 20, the court granted the state's motion to intervene, and denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs’ motion for TRO, preliminary injunction, and writ of habeas corpus was denied on April 27. The Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ habeas action. They also noted that the plaintiffs have not exhausted administrative, state court, and PLRA remedies. The court further pointed to concerns of federalism and separation of powers implicated in dictating policy for jail operations.

On April 19, the defendants submitted an amended motion to dismiss. On August 18, the court granted defendants motion to dismiss in part and deferred in part, ruling that plaintiffs had not exhausted available state court remedies nor stated a claim for habeas relief because their claims raised questions unrelated to the causes of their detention, but deferred ruling on plaintiff's § 1983 claims.

On September 25, defendants filed another motion to dismiss the Post-Adjudication Class claims for relief alleging that all of the named plaintiffs in that class had been released and therefore they lacked standing and their claims for § 1983 injunctive relief were moot.

The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 09/21/2020
Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 11/16/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Denied
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
COVID-19 Release Denied
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Dallas County Sheriff
Dallas County Texas
Governor of Texas and Attorney General of Texas
Plaintiff Description Twelve detainees at the Dallas County Jail who have either been infected with COVID-19 or are at risk due to underlying medical conditions The plaintiffs proposed two classes: the “Pre-Adjudication Class” and the “Post-Adjudication Class,” each further divided into the “Medically-Vulnerable Pre-Adjudication Subclass” and “Medically-Vulnerable Post-Adjudication Subclass.” “Medically-Vulnerable” is defined as those over the age of 50 and/or with experiences of medical conditions.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
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
None
Source of Relief None yet
None
Filed 04/09/2020
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)
  Sanchez et al v. Dallas County Sheriff et al
https://www.aclu.org/
Date: Apr. 13, 2020
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:20-cv-00832 (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1 & 1-1 to 1-11]
JC-TX-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’/Petitioners’ Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 2 & 2-1 & 2-2 & 3 & 3-1 to 3-9 & 4]
JC-TX-0027-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 17 & 17-1 & 18 & 18-1 & 18-2]
JC-TX-0027-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Intervene by the State of Texas, Governor of Texas, and Attorney General of Texas [ECF# 26 & 26-1 & 27 & 27-1 to 27-15]
JC-TX-0027-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Intervenors' (1) Motion to Dismiss; (2) Opposition to Plaintiffs'/Petitioners' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Writ of Habeas Corpus; and (3) Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 33 & 33-1 to 33-3]
JC-TX-0027-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Response to Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 34 & 34-1 to 34-3]
JC-TX-0027-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 35 & 35-1]
JC-TX-0027-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 36 & 36-1]
JC-TX-0027-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Declaration of Alison Grinter [ECF# 37 & 37-1 to 37-4]
JC-TX-0027-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Class Action Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 39 & 39-1 to 39-13]
JC-TX-0027-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Amended Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 53, 53-1]
JC-TX-0027-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Defendants' Amended Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 54 & 54-1 to 54-4]
JC-TX-0027-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 70] (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0027-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice Re: Petitioner/Plaintiffs' Second Amended [Proposed] Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, and Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 84 & 84-1]
JC-TX-0027-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 85] (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0027-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Supplemental Authority [ECF# 86, 86-1]
JC-TX-0027-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Advisory Regarding Statistical Reports by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards [ECF# 89, 89-1]
JC-TX-0027-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 99] (2020 WL 2615931) (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0027-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 120] (N.D. Tex.)
JC-TX-0027-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction [ECF# 126]
JC-TX-0027-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction [ECF# 127]
JC-TX-0027-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Brown, Ada Elene (N.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0012 | JC-TX-0027-0014 | JC-TX-0027-0017 | JC-TX-0027-0019 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barnett, Barry C (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Brown, Meredith Taylor (New York) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003
Buskey, Brandon (New York) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Choi, Sarah Sungha (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000
Cole, Kim (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Fettig, Amy (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Gervais, Michael (California) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Grinter, Alison Johnston (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0009 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Hill, Henderson (North Carolina) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Klosterboer, Brian (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Pinon, Adriana (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Rossi, Elizabeth Anne (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Safwat, Adam Gasser (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000
Segura, Andre (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Woods, Andrea (New York) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0001 | JC-TX-0027-0002 | JC-TX-0027-0003 | JC-TX-0027-0010 | JC-TX-0027-0013 | JC-TX-0027-0016 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Albright, Thomas A. (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015
Bangert, Ryan L (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015
Biggs, Adam Arthur (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Butrus, John J Jr. (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0006 | JC-TX-0027-0007 | JC-TX-0027-0008 | JC-TX-0027-0011 | JC-TX-0027-0018 | JC-TX-0027-0020 | JC-TX-0027-0021 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Daaboul, Rola (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000
David, Katharine Davenport (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0006 | JC-TX-0027-0007 | JC-TX-0027-0008 | JC-TX-0027-0011 | JC-TX-0027-0018 | JC-TX-0027-0020 | JC-TX-0027-0021 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Dickerson, Todd (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Mateer, Jeffrey C (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015
McCarty, Darren L (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015
Paxton, Ken (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0004 | JC-TX-0027-0005 | JC-TX-0027-0015
Roden, Russell H (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0006 | JC-TX-0027-0007 | JC-TX-0027-0008 | JC-TX-0027-0011 | JC-TX-0027-0018 | JC-TX-0027-0020 | JC-TX-0027-0021 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Schuette, J G (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000
Stephens, Benjamin R (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0006 | JC-TX-0027-0007 | JC-TX-0027-0008 | JC-TX-0027-0011 | JC-TX-0027-0018 | JC-TX-0027-0020 | JC-TX-0027-0021 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Stepp, Nicholas David (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-0006 | JC-TX-0027-0007 | JC-TX-0027-0008 | JC-TX-0027-0011 | JC-TX-0027-0018 | JC-TX-0027-0020 | JC-TX-0027-0021 | JC-TX-0027-9000
Other Lawyers Eichman, John C. (Texas) show/hide docs
JC-TX-0027-9000

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