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Case Name Keith G. v. Bilbray JI-CA-0006
Docket / Court 626554 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Youth Law Center
Case Summary
On July 20, 1990, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego on behalf of all juveniles currently detained at the San Diego Juvenile Hall, against San Diego County, California, and county corrections ... read more >
On July 20, 1990, a class action lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego on behalf of all juveniles currently detained at the San Diego Juvenile Hall, against San Diego County, California, and county corrections personnel. The plaintiffs, represented by the A.C.L.U. Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, alleged that overcrowding at Juvenile Hall deprived detainees of their constitutional rights and violated state law. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

Because of overcrowding at Juvenile Hall, detainees were subject to long periods of lock-down. During lock-down, detainees did not have access to toilets, clean clothing, and adequate quantities of food. In addition, overcrowding exacerbated the inadequacy of medical treatment, mental health care, suicide prevention, educational opportunities, rehabilitative programming, and staff monitoring. As the result of space shortages, juveniles awaiting trial were confined with convicted juveniles in rooms housing more detainees then their capacity and convicted female juveniles were transferred daily from Juvenile Hall, where they slept, to day programs in a girls' facility.

On Oct. 12, 1992, the Superior Court of the State of California in and for San Diego County (Judge Robert J. O'Neill) held that the conditions at Juvenile Hall violated detainees' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court ordered the County (1) to abide by population caps and house no more than two juveniles in a single-occupancy room, (2) to ensure staff-to-minor ratios of 1:10 during waking hours and 1:30 at night, (3) to screen all juveniles for mental illnesses and offer responsive mental health treatment, (4) to educate and rehabilitate youths still detained at Juvenile Hall fifteen days or more after conviction and (5) to submit a long-term plan for increasing capacity to the court within forty-five days.

The First Division of the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal (Judge Patricia D. Benke) reversed, remanded, and ordered judgment entered for the County. Keith G. v. Bilbray, 43 Cal. Rptr. 2d 277 (Cal. Ct. App. 1995) (depublished). The Court of Appeal held that a court could only find that juvenile detainees' rights were violated if there was substantial evidence of discrete deprivations. The Court of Appeal dismissed the trial court's eighty-nine pages of findings as speculative and not directly connected to constitutional violations.

The California Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs' petition for review. Keith G. v. Bilbray, 904 P.2d 372 (Cal. 1995). The Youth Law Center filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the plaintiffs, supporting the trial court's decision with precedent from other states. The California Supreme Court dismissed and remanded. Keith G. v. Bilbray, 912 P.2d 1147 (Cal. 1996). We have no record of further proceedings in this case.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 05/22/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Crowding / caseload
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) San Diego County
San Diego County Juvenile Hal
Plaintiff Description all juveniles currently detained at the San Diego Juvenile Hall
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Youth Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1992 - 1995
Case Closing Year 1995
Case Ongoing No
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Class Action Civil Rights Claim for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Writ of Mandate General Civil 07/20/1990
JI-CA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 08/21/1995 (43 Cal.Rptr. 277)
JI-CA-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Ruling on Petition for Review 10/27/1995 (904 P.2d 372)
JI-CA-0006-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Application for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief of Youth Law Center on Behalf of Plaintiffs and Respondents and Amicus Curiae Brief of YLC on Behalf of Plaintiffs and Respondents 02/16/1996
JI-CA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Opinion Review Dismissal 03/28/1996 (912 P.2d 1147)
JI-CA-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
San Diego Superior Court Case Detail 05/18/2006
JI-CA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Benke, Patricia D. (State Appellate Court)
O'Neill, Robert J. (State Trial Court)
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Budd, Jordan C. (California)
JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Dougan, Karin A. (California)
Landon, Alexander L. (California)
JI-CA-0006-0001 | JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Missakian, Elizabth (California)
Mittermiller, James J. (California)
Wheeler, Betty (California)
Defendant's Lawyers Bardsley, Diane (California)
Hagar, John H. Jr. (California)
JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Harmon, Lloyd (California)
Northrup, Nathan (California)
JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Taylor, Timothy B. (California)
JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Other Lawyers Bell, James Raymond (California)
Burrell, Susan L. (California)
Meieran, Sharon (California)
Peters, Clark M. (Ohio)
Udell, Lei K. (California)
Warboys, Loren M. (California)
JI-CA-0006-0002 | JI-CA-0006-0006
Wilber, Shannan l. (California)

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