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Case Name Urdaneta v. Keeton IM-AZ-0030
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-00654 ( D. Ariz. )
Additional Docket(s) 2:20-cv-01134  [ 20-1134 ]  District of AZ (U.S.)
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas action filed by immigration detainees in Arizona, seeking release due to their high risk of illness or death from COVID-19. The court partially granted an injunction on May 11, requiring the defendants to make a list of measures that could be taken to comply with ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a habeas action filed by immigration detainees in Arizona, seeking release due to their high risk of illness or death from COVID-19. The court partially granted an injunction on May 11, requiring the defendants to make a list of measures that could be taken to comply with CDC and ICE guidelines.


This petition for habeas corpus was filed on April 1, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The petitioners were thirteen immigration detainees at La Palma Correctional Center or Eloy Detention Center, both private immigration detention facilities. They were represented by private counsel and lawyers from several public interest groups, including ACLU National Prison Project, ACLU Foundation of Arizona, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, and Florence Immigration and Refugee Project. The petitioners sought writ of habeas corpus against the wardens of the two detention centers, their field directors, and the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.

The complaint alleged that the spread of COVID-19 left the prisoners at high risk of illness or death, and that the steps the centers had taken to mitigate its spread were inadequate. In fact, petitioners argued that given the seriousness and contagiousness of the illness, particularly for prisoners with co-morbidities, the only adequate remedy was release. The complaint asserted that the continued holding of these prisoners amounted to violations of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Under the one theory, the respondents owed petitioners a certain degree of medical care and reasonable safety, since their taking custody of the detainees established a special relationship. Under a second theory, the respondents violated the Fifth Amendment's protection against punitive detention for civil offenders. Petitioners argued that, given the spread of the disease and the lack of precautions the centers were taking, they were treated worse as civil offenders than convicted criminal offenders. They sought a writ of habeas corpus or, in the alternative, an injunction that would release the inmates. They also sought declaratory relief and attorneys' fees and costs.

The case was assigned to District Judge Steven P. Logan and referred to Magistrate Judge James F. Metcalf.

The court issued its ruling on May 11, 2020. The court partially granted the petitioner's request, finding that there was a substantial risk to the detainees, that the respondents had made intentional decisions by failing to take measures to protect high-risk detainees from infection, that this failure was objectively unreasonable given the measures available to them, and that this failure could cause serious illness or death among the detainees. However, the court did not concede that the only available remedy was release of the prisoners. Instead, Judge Logan asked each party to submit lists of measures that could be taken to make conditions consistent with CDC and ICE guidelines. They were given two days to submit these lists. Still, for one petitioner, the court issued a separate order on May 15, ordering that the petitioner be placed in a single-occupancy cell without a roommate and with adequate access to hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE). It is unclear from the opinions why this petitioner got special treatment.

In the following weeks the parties submitted status reports regarding the effort to bring the centers into compliance with ICE and CDC guidelines. The court also granted a motion to transfer a different case, Espinoza v. Howard, into this one.

The case is ongoing as of July 29, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 07/29/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
General
Bathing and hygiene
Neglect by staff
Sanitation / living conditions
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
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
Defendant(s) Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Warden of Eloy Detention Center
Warden of La Palma Correctional Center
Plaintiff Description Thirteen immigration detainees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 04/01/2020
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)
  Immigrant Advocates File Second Lawsuit Asking Federal Court to Order Immediate Release of Detained Migrants Due to COVID-19 Risk
ACLU of Arizona
Date: Jun. 15, 2020
By: ACLU of Arizona
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:20-cv-00654-SPL−JFM (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0030-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [ECF# 52] (2020 WL 2319980) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0030-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C Section 2241 and Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-AZ-0030-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Logan, Steven Paul (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0002 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Metcalf, James F. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balakrishnan, Anand V. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Barr, Daniel C. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Beaudoin, Kristine Julie (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Belous, Laura (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Borja, Aleyda Yvette (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Cabot, Howard Ross (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Casselman, Margo Rose (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Cho, Eunice (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
May, Katherine Elizabeth (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001
Ruhl, Katherine E (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001
St. John, Laura McClure (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Tan, Michael K. T. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Thomas, Christopher David (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-0001 | IM-AZ-0030-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hemann, Lisa Marie (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Other Lawyers Bendor, Joshua David R. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Buergel, Susanna M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Johnson, Darren W. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000
Kimball-Stanley, David C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0030-9000

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