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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Williams v. Witte IM-AL-0011
Docket / Court 4:20-cv-00304 ( N.D. Ala. )
Additional Docket(s) 4:20-cv-00596  [ 20-596 ]  Northern District of AL (U.S.)
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
National Immigration Project of the NLG
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas action brought by medically vulnerable detainees in the Etowah County Detention Center, seeking release due to COVID-19 and lack of protection from the virus in the facility. On May 15, the court denied entry of a TRO and a month later, the plaintiffs dismissed ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas action brought by medically vulnerable detainees in the Etowah County Detention Center, seeking release due to COVID-19 and lack of protection from the virus in the facility. On May 15, the court denied entry of a TRO and a month later, the plaintiffs dismissed the case voluntarily.


The Initial Lawsuit: This case was originally filed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus on March 5, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. It was assigned to Judge Abdul K. Kallon and given the docket number 4:20-cv-00596. The petitioner challenged his detention by ICE as being in violation of his substantive and procedural due process rights and contrary to the Supreme Court's 2001 decision in Zadvydas. Then, on April 29, 2020, the petitioner and seventeen other detainees in the Etowah County Detention Center filed amended petition for writ of habeas corpus. The claims were drastically different, and with seventeen new plaintiffs involved, the court felt that the petitioners were simply trying to avoid randomization of assignments to judges by adding unrelated claims and new petitioners to the original complaint. Therefore, the court ordered the clerk to open a new case for this new complaint. It was assigned to Judge R. David Proctor and referred to Magistrate Judge John H. England III, and its new docket number was 4:20-cv-00304. Regarding the original case, Judge Kallon gave the petitioner until May 7 to file respond the the defendants' answer in that case. That docket is not available online, so the Clearinghouse does not know whether it was dismissed or continued on.

The New Lawsuit: Represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers' Guild, and private counsel, the plaintiffs sued Etowah County, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the New Orleans ICE Field Office. Suing under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 and the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2241, the plaintiffs alleged violations of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Specifically, they alleged that their underlying medical conditions made them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and that their continued detention was unconstitutional.

Simultaneous with the petition, the plaintiffs filed a motion for temporary restraining order, arguing that the court had the authority to do so, that the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm without it, that they were likely to succeed on the merits, and that the balance of equities weighed in their favor. The defendants filed a response in opposition on May 4, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction, that the plaintiffs had not shown irreparable harm, nor had they proved deliberate indifference. For petitioners to succeed. defendants argued, they had to show that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the petitioners' rights.

Over the next few weeks, one petitioner was granted release by ICE, and his habeas petition and motion for temporary restraining order were dismissed as moot.

On May 15, Judge Proctor denied the TRO, stating that the plaintiffs could not modify their conditions of confinement through § 2241, and that the release order they sought had not been granted by other courts, even where the risk posed to detainees was even more prevalent. According to Judge Proctor, habeas corpus is a vehicle by which petitioners are to challenge that they are imprisoned or the length of their imprisonment, but not the conditions of their imprisonment. 2020 WL 2513648.

On June 19, the plaintiffs moved to voluntarily dismiss the case, which was granted three days later. The case is now closed.

Jack Hibbard - 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
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Habeas Corpus
Placement in detention facilities
Sanitation / living conditions
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - 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 Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Deputy Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matthew Albence
Sheriff of Etowah County
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Eighteen non-citizen detainees in ICE custody
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
National Immigration Project of the NLG
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 03/05/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Archilla v. Witte
ccrjustice.org
Date: Jun. 12, 2020
By: Center for Constitutional Rights
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:20-cv-00596 (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 11]
IM-AL-0011-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Support of their Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 16-1]
IM-AL-0011-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-AL-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 2]
IM-AL-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Federal Respondents’ Opposition to Petitioners' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 11, 11-1, & 11-2]
IM-AL-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply [ECF# 26 (& 26-1 to 26-7)]
IM-AL-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioners' Post-argument Supplemental Brief on their Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 31]
IM-AL-0011-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 33] (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 34] (2020 WL 2513648) (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0011-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 35] (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0011-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 38] (N.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0011-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges England, John H. Jr. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-9000
Proctor, R. David (N.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0005 | IM-AL-0011-0006 | IM-AL-0011-0007 | IM-AL-0011-0008 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aguirre, Guadalupe V (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011
Alrabe, Khaled (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Azmy, Baher (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011
Guisado, Angelo R. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011
Jong, Jeremy (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Pokharel, Astha Sharma (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011
Schwarz, Ghita (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Shebaya, Sirine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Thomas, Brittany (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011
Vogel, Matthew Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Vosburgh, Jessica Myers (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0001 | IM-AL-0011-0002 | IM-AL-0011-0004 | IM-AL-0011-0009 | IM-AL-0011-0010 | IM-AL-0011-0011 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cheek, Jason R (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003
Marshall, Mary (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003 | IM-AL-0011-9000
Molina, Ernesto H. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003
Town, Jay (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003
Wilson, Sarah Stevens (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-AL-0011-0003 | IM-AL-0011-9000

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