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Case Name Farrell v. Harper JI-CA-0013
Docket / Court RG03079344 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Juvenile Institution
Special Collection California's Prisoners' Rights Bar article
Strip Search Cases
Attorney Organization Prison Law Office
Case Summary
On January 16, 2003, a taxpayer whose juvenile nephew was a ward of the court filed this lawsuit in the Alameda County, California, Superior Court. The plaintiff filed under state law against the director of the California Youth Authority (CYA). She alleged that the CYA expended funds on policies, ... read more >
On January 16, 2003, a taxpayer whose juvenile nephew was a ward of the court filed this lawsuit in the Alameda County, California, Superior Court. The plaintiff filed under state law against the director of the California Youth Authority (CYA). She alleged that the CYA expended funds on policies, procedures, and practices that were illegal under state law. Represented by counsel from the Prison Law Office, from Disability Rights Advocates, and from two major firms, she sought declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit the allegedly illegal expenditures and prevent the CYA from subjecting its wards to illegal conduct. She also sought attorneys' fees and continuing jurisdiction by the court until the CYA complied with remedial orders. The CYA generally denied her allegations. Discovery proceedings occurred for the following several months.

The plaintiff's complaint, as amended in September 2003, alleged that the CYA failed in its statutory duties to provide training, treatment and rehabilitation to juvenile wards entrusted to CYA care. These shortcomings included failing to provide for juveniles' safety and subjecting wards to excessive force from staff and sexual assaults from other wards, female-on-female violence, gang violence, and staff-encouraged fights. The plaintiff also alleged that the segregation of wards for conduct reasons involved CYA placement of some individuals in inhumane, filthy, stultifying housing conditions (a) lacking programs to train improved behaviors or to improve mental health problems, and (b) which promoted mental illness and suicide. Relatedly, the plaintiff alleged that CYA wards were denied adequate medical, dental, and mental health care. Deficient or absent educational, substance abuse, exercise, religious, grievance and access to courts programs, at inadequate CYA physical facilities, were among these allegations. The plaintiff asserted that developmentally disabled, cognitively impaired, and sensory impaired CYA wards were denied basic care, physical accommodations, and necessary staffing and were subject to discrimination and harassment. The plaintiff also cited sex discrimination by the CYA in its disparate provision of college classes and vocational training to female wards, in comparison to male wards. The plaintiff's complaint repeatedly quoted from CYA budget and Inspector General reports and documents to bolster her assertions. The plaintiff's complaint did not rely on federal law; instead, she cited dozens of provisions of California's constitution, civil law, and penal code in support of her claims.

The parties agreed that experts would review the CYA's performance in several topical areas. The experts' reports were made available to the plaintiff and the public in early 2004.

The parties entered into a consent decree in early November 2004. It required improving CYA shortcomings in multiple respects, including safety, staff training, classification, grievance systems, religious services, gang-related violence issues, verbal abuse, physical facilities, program access, mental health, education, sex offender treatment, and accommodations for youth with disabilities. The decree called for detailed remedial plans addressing these topics to be filed with the court by January 31, 2005, and implemented by the CYA, for interim plans and improvements in the meantime, and for appointment of a Special Master compensated by CYA funds to monitor remedial compliance. The decree obligated the CYA to retain independent experts in the areas needing remediation and to provide them, and plaintiff's counsel, with access to CYA facilities. Disputes arising under the terms of the decree would be settled by arbitration. Attorneys' fees would be paid by the CYA. Judge Ronald M. Sabraw accepted the consent decree and entered judgment on December 29, 2004.

In succeeding months and years, numerous evaluative reports were filed with the court, as well as Special Master's reports on CYA performance and compliance. Of note, the CYA's name changed during this period, becoming the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. An agreed-upon delay in filing the remedial plans until November 2005, stemmed from the parties' desire to comprehensively remedy systemic problems at DJJ, which required improvements in adult institutions, as well. By November 2006, remedial plans were being implemented covering education, sex behavior treatment, disabilities issues, and medical care, new leadership existed at key DJJ posts, and institutional change was underway, according to the Special Master, who observed mixed progress and DJJ resource limitations.

In August 2011, a federal judge issued an order finding that the DJJ was still in violation of its duties to provide education and programming to wards housed in its facilities. The Court granted a motion for enforcement and set deadlines for the DJJ to comply with its obligations under the Remedial Plan.

The Special Master in the Farrell case continued to file periodic reports detailing the changes in conditions for wards at Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, until the case was dismissed with prejudice by stipulation on February 25, 2016. The parties stipulated to dismiss the case because DJJ had substantially satisfied every obligation under the remaining remedial plans in effect. The case is now closed.

This case is similar to three other cases in this database which were brought, in part, by the Prison Law Office to challenge conditions in California juvenile facilities. Those cases are Hixon v. Hope (JI-CA-0014), Porter v. Speirs (JI-CA-0015), and Waters v. Woodford (JI-CA-0016).

Post-Script: Farrell's Role in Ending Solitary Confinement of Children in California

Farrell played an important role in broad institutional reform in the criminal justice system in California. The litigation spawned an advocacy movement that eventually prompted California to pass legislation to greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities in 2018. See CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 208.3 (2018).The role the Farrell litigation played in these reforms is highlighted in Sue Burrell and Ji Seon Song's 2019 article on "Ending 'Solitary Confinement' of Youth in California" in the Children's Legal Rights Journal, which is attached as a resource on this page.

Mike Fagan - 05/16/2008
Michael Beech - 03/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Confinement/isolation
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Education
Effective Communication (ADA)
Excessive force
Failure to train
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Grievance Procedures
Improper treatment of mentally ill suspects
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Juveniles
Mail
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Phone
Protective custody
Recreation / Exercise
Rehabilitation
Religious programs / policies
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Strip search policy
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
California Youth Authority (CYA)
Plaintiff Description Taxpayer petitioning to stop the use of taxpayer funds to further the allegedly illegal conditions that exist in the California Youth Authority
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Prison Law Office
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - 2016
Filing Year 2003
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Ending “Solitary Confinement” of Youth in California
Children's Legal Rights Journal
Date: Jan. 1, 2019
By: Sue Burrell and Ji Seon Song
Citation: 39 Child. Legal Rts. J. 42
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Farrell litigation timeline
http://www.cjcj.org/
Date: Aug. 1, 2013
By: Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
RG03079344 (State Trial Court)
JI-CA-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2006
General Documents
Complaint
JI-CA-0013-0027.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/16/2003
Source: ACLU
Review of Health Care Services in California Youth Authority (CYA)
JI-CA-0013-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2003
Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief
JI-CA-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/2003
Evaluation of Sex Offender Programs - The California Youth Authority
JI-CA-0013-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/2003
Consent Decree
JI-CA-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/08/2003
Report of Findings of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services to Youth in California Youth Authority Facilities
JI-CA-0013-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2003
Education Program Review of California Youth Authority
JI-CA-0013-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2003
General Corrections Review of The California Youth Authority
JI-CA-0013-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2003
Stipulation Regarding California Youth Authority Remedial Efforts
JI-CA-0013-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2005
Press Release on Reform of California Youth Authority
JI-CA-0013-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing California Youth Authority's Education Remedial Plan
JI-CA-0013-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing California Youth Authority's Sexual Behavior Treatment Remedial Plan
JI-CA-0013-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/16/2005
Order
JI-CA-0013-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/17/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing California Youth Authority's Disabilities Remedial Plan and Auditing Instrument
JI-CA-0013-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing DJJ’s Appendix C to the Disabilities Remedial Plan (Part 1)
JI-CA-0013-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing DJJ’s Appendix C to the Disabilities Remedial Plan (Part 2)
JI-CA-0013-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2005
Defendant’s Notice of Filing DJJ’s Appendix C to the Disabilities Remedial Plan (Part 3)
JI-CA-0013-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2005
Stipulation Regarding Safety and Welfare Remedial Plan and Mental Health Remedial Plan; [Proposed] Order
JI-CA-0013-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2005
Defendant's Notice of Filing DDJ's Health Care Service Remedial Plan
JI-CA-0013-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2006
Report on Access to Programs and Services for Wards with Disabilities in the California Youth Authority
JI-CA-0013-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/2006
First Report of Special Master
JI-CA-0013-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2006
Second Report of Special Master
JI-CA-0013-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2006
Second Report of Special Master - Appendix
JI-CA-0013-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2006
Safety and Remedial Welfare Plan (and Proposed Order)
JI-CA-0013-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2006
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Juvenile Justice - Remedial Mental Health Plan
JI-CA-0013-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2006
Third Report of the Special Master
JI-CA-0013-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2006
Third Report of the Special Master - Appendix
JI-CA-0013-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2006
Stipulation and Order Dismissing Consent Decree with Prejudice
JI-CA-0013-0030.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2016
show all people docs
Judges Colwell, Kimberly E. Court not on record show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0030
Sabraw, Ronald M. (State Trial Court) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters Beltz, Cathleen (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0015 | JI-CA-0013-0016 | JI-CA-0013-0017 | JI-CA-0013-0018 | JI-CA-0013-0019
Brorby, Donna (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0015 | JI-CA-0013-0016 | JI-CA-0013-0017 | JI-CA-0013-0018 | JI-CA-0013-0019
Plaintiff's Lawyers Busby, Kyra (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003
Hanson, Shawn A. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-9000
Jacobs, Caroline (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003
Mania, Anne (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001
McKinney, Allyson (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003
Mitchell, Caroline N. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003 | JI-CA-0013-0027
Norman, Sara Linda (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003
Paradis, Laurence W. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-9000
Scafe, Jennifer L. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001
Specter, Donald H. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0027 | JI-CA-0013-0030
Ulmer, Richard Jr. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003 | JI-CA-0013-0027
Wolinsky, Sidney M. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003 | JI-CA-0013-0027
Defendant's Lawyers Acquisto, Stephen (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-9000
Anderson, Robert R. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0006 | JI-CA-0013-0007 | JI-CA-0013-0009 | JI-CA-0013-0010 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-0014
Anderson, Monica (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0001 | JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0003 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0005 | JI-CA-0013-0006 | JI-CA-0013-0007 | JI-CA-0013-0008 | JI-CA-0013-0009 | JI-CA-0013-0010 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-0012 | JI-CA-0013-0013 | JI-CA-0013-0014
East, Rochelle C. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0005 | JI-CA-0013-0012
Grunder, Frances T. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0005 | JI-CA-0013-0006 | JI-CA-0013-0007 | JI-CA-0013-0008 | JI-CA-0013-0009 | JI-CA-0013-0010 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-0012 | JI-CA-0013-0014
Humes, James M. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0005 | JI-CA-0013-0008 | JI-CA-0013-0012
Kamberian, Van (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0008
Kwong, William C (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0030
Lockyer, Bill (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0005 | JI-CA-0013-0006 | JI-CA-0013-0007 | JI-CA-0013-0008 | JI-CA-0013-0009 | JI-CA-0013-0010 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-0014
Neill, Jennifer Anne (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-0002 | JI-CA-0013-0004 | JI-CA-0013-0006 | JI-CA-0013-0007 | JI-CA-0013-0009 | JI-CA-0013-0010 | JI-CA-0013-0011 | JI-CA-0013-0014
Schreiber, Michelle L. (California) show/hide docs
JI-CA-0013-9000

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