In 1978 the inmates filed a federal class action suit in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana claiming that conditions at the Delaware County Jail violated the constitutional rights of the pretrial detainees. The suit was settled in 1984 with the issuance of a consent decree calling for the construction of a new 'Public Safety Complex' that was include a new town hall, police station and jail. This new complex was to be paid for through a new tax.
We do not have much information on the action itself, but we do have opinions about a collateral issue: Two people not involved in the federal action brought a complaint in front of the state tax board, contesting the new taxes. The board ruled against them, and they filed an appeal in state court. While that appeal was pending, parties from the original federal action, claiming that the pending state action was prohibiting them from borrowing the money needed to start construction on the Safety Complex, sought to have the two people filing in state court joined in their federal case, and to have the state action stopped. On June 25, 1986, the district court (Judge William E. Steckler) issued an opinion denying both motions. Dunn v. Carey, 110 F.R.D. 439 (S.D. Ind. 1986). Plaintiffs appealed. On December 16, 1986, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Frank Easterbrook) affirmed the lower court opinion by holding, in part, that the Anti-Injunction Act barred injunctions where the federal case had been ended by a consent decree. Dunn v. Casey, 808 F.2d 555 (7th Cir. 1986).
Because the docket is not available on PACER, we have no further information on this case.Ben Kelly - 03/01/2006