University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Center for Juvenile Law and Policy v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County JI-CA-0026
Docket / Court B305558 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This petition, brought by the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the Independent Juvenile Defender Program, sought the release of youth detainees in Los Angeles County. The plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to immediately reduce youth populations in juvenile halls, conduct ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This petition, brought by the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and the Independent Juvenile Defender Program, sought the release of youth detainees in Los Angeles County. The plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to immediately reduce youth populations in juvenile halls, conduct an expedited review of eligible LA County detainees. On May 12, the Superior Court denied the petition.


On April 14, 2020, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP) and the Independent Juvenile Defender Program (IJDP), on behalf of all youth detained in Los Angeles County, filed a petition against the Los Angeles Juvenile Superior requesting the release of youth detainees. Originally filed in the Supreme Court of California, the case was kicked down to the Court of Appeals, with directions to issue an order to show cause. The case was returned before the Los Angeles County Superior Court and assigned to Judge Brett Bianco.

On March 31, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion requiring the Probation Department and other county agencies to reduce and safeguard juvenile camp populations. On March 24, the LA Superior Court announced an expedited court process to release an extensive list of adult individuals held pretrial in county jails, which waived the need for a court hearing, immediately effective upon the court’s ex parte review. The plaintiffs alleged that youth release, unlike adult release, still mandated the defendant’s original procedure to conduct an individualized review of each youth’s circumstances. Further, the plaintiffs noted that only 66 youths were released from youth camps by mid-April, with no additional strategy for mass release.

This petition was filed after a probation officer at Barry J. Nirdoff Juvenile Hall (Juvenile Hall) tested positive for COVID-19 early April, which led to the spread of the virus to six probation officers and cohorts of youth into quarantine by April 13. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that youths detained at the Juvenile Hall did not have access to hand sanitizer and masks and that the facility did not adequately implement social distancing. The plaintiffs alleged that the failure to protect youth in confinement constituted a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.

Filed in the Supreme Court of California on April 15, the plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to immediately reduce youth populations in juvenile halls, conduct an expedited review of eligible LA County detainees, aged 12 to 23, suspend new admissions, and prohibit transfers into juvenile facilities. Additionally, the plaintiffs sought health and safety measures consistent with recommendations issued by the Center on Disease Control. The plaintiffs were represented by private counsel.

On April 17, the defendants filed an informal response and denied that efforts to release youth from detention were inadequate.

On April 22, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals (Second Appellate District) with directions to issue an order to show cause returnable before the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Following the transfer, the case was deemed filed at the Superior Court of the State of California, and assigned to Judge Brett Bianco.

On May 7, the petitioners filed a response asserting that the Probation Department adequately implemented CDC guidelines. On the same day, the LA County Probation Departed reported two confirmed cases
of COVID-19 among youth, one held at Barry J, the other held at Central Juvenile Hall. By May 14, three youths held at Central Juvenile Hall, one youth at Barry J, and another youth at an unnamed facility tested positive for COVID-19.

On May 12, County Superior Court Judge Brett Bianco denied the petition, finding that the petition did not demonstrate sufficient evidence that the County had failed to act reasonably to protect detained youth, or that the youth were held in unconstitutional conditions.

Averyn Lee - 06/21/2020


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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
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Juveniles
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
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Los Angeles Superior Court (juvenile)
Plaintiff Description Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and Independent Juvenile Defender Office on behalf of all youth detained in juvenile halls and camps in Los Angeles County
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 04/15/2020
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Docket(s)
S261701 (U.S. Supreme Court)
JI-CA-0026-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2020
Source: Supreme Court website
B305558 (State Court of Appeals)
JI-CA-0026-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Mandate
JI-CA-0026-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/2020
Order Denying Petition for Writ of Mandate
JI-CA-0026-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2020
show all people docs
Judges Bianco, Brett D. Court not on record show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Soug, Patricia (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-0002 | JI-CA-0026-9000 | JI-CA-0026-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Baxter, Margo (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-9001
Bennett, Frederick R. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-9000
Newman, Jane Elizabeth (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-9001
Randolph, Shawn N (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-9001
Other Lawyers Pomeroy, John F (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0026-9000 | JI-CA-0026-9001

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