University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Santa Fe County JC-NM-0005
Docket / Court 1:08-cv-00212 ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In March of 2002, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the confinement conditions at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (SFCADC) ... read more >
In March of 2002, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, acting pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq., commenced an investigation into the confinement conditions at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (SFCADC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Based on its investigation, the DOJ concluded that the conditions and practices at the Detention Center violated the constitutional rights of convicted inmates and pre-trial detainees. By letter dated March 6, 2003, the DOJ advised Santa Fe County of minimal remedial measures it should implement in order to remedy unconstitutional practices relating to: (1) medical and mental health care; (2) suicide prevention; (3) protection of inmates from harm; (4) fire safety; (5) sanitation; and (6) inmate grievance procedures (including court access).

Santa Fe County agreed to make the recommended reforms. On November 11, 2004, to avoid litigation, the parties entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). MOA detailed the agreed reforms and set forth timetables for completion. By its terms, MOA was to last for a period of three years, after which it would expire if substantial compliance had been achieved.

Because the County had not substantially complied with the MOA, on February 28, 2008, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The U.S. sued the County under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The U.S. claimed that the defendants had engaged in and continued to engage in a pattern or practice of failing to protect inmates at the SFCADC from serious harm and undue risk of serious harm by failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care and failing to provide safe and sanitary living conditions.

The case was originally assigned to District Judge Robert Hayes Scott and Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson. After the United States filed a notice of refusal to proceed before Magistrate Judge Torgerson, however, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Christina Armijo.

On March 6, 2008, the parties jointly moved for approval of a settlement agreement. The court granted this motion on April 30, 2008, retaining jurisdiction over the matter and conditionally dismissing the case subject to the defendants achieving substantial compliance with the agreement. This agreement replaced the MOA and required the defendant to provide adequate services to address the serious medical and mental health needs of all prisoners. The agreement required the defendants to have adequate staffing and provide training under the new policies. To ensure compliance, the agreement included monitoring, implementation of a grievance process, reporting, and record keeping. The agreement was to terminate after 2 years so long as the county had substantially complied with all provisions.

On July 2, 2008, the parties filed a status report with the court showing no significant problems with compliance. On October 30, 2009, pursuant to the recommendations made by the parties, the court dismissed the case with prejudice and terminated the settlement agreement and its associated order.

On November 1, 2009, after a two year extension to compel Santa Fe County to meet the benchmarks in the agreement, the DOJ allowed the terms of the agreement to expire. According an article in a local paper, the DOJ is no longer monitoring the county.

Dan Dalton - 02/14/2008
Virginia Weeks - 11/01/2016
Jake Parker - 06/28/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Medical/Mental Health
Hepatitis
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Tuberculosis
Vision care
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Sante Fe County
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
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
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2008 - 2009
Filing Year 2008
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:08-cv-212 (D.N.M.)
JC-NM-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center (Formerly the Santa Fe County Correctional Facility)
JC-NM-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2003
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum of Agreement between the United States and Santa Fe County
JC-NM-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2004
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Settlement Agreement
JC-NM-0005-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 02/28/2008
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-NM-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/28/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 5]
JC-NM-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 8]
JC-NM-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Final Dismissal [ECF# 11] (D.N.M.)
JC-NM-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Armijo, M. Christina (D.N.M.)
JC-NM-0005-0006 | JC-NM-0005-9000
Scott, Robert H. (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
JC-NM-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0003 | JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0007
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002 | JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007
Dean, Kerry Krentler (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0003 | JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007 | JC-NM-0005-9000
England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0003 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007 | JC-NM-0005-9000
Fouratt, Gregory James (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007 | JC-NM-0005-9000
Gomez, Larry (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0003
Graybill, Lisa Shawn (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0003 | JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007
Iglesias, David C. (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Krentler, Kerry A. (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Masling, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Mitchell, Jan Elizabeth (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0004 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007 | JC-NM-0005-9000
Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)
JC-NM-0005-0004
Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Shoenberg, Dana (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Kopelman, Steven (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Philips, Grace (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0002
Ross, Stephen C. (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0002 | JC-NM-0005-0003 | JC-NM-0005-0005 | JC-NM-0005-0007
Other Lawyers Auerbach, Gerald (New Mexico)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Blackwell, Edith (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Erlewine, Chris (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0001
Myers, William G. III (District of Columbia)
JC-NM-0005-0001

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