On October 20, 1971, inmates in the Santa Clara County Jail filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the conditions of confinement at the Santa Clara County Jails. Due to the age of this case, our information on the procedural ...
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On October 20, 1971, inmates in the Santa Clara County Jail filed a civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the conditions of confinement at the Santa Clara County Jails. Due to the age of this case, our information on the procedural history is limited.
On April 13, 1973 District Court Judge Robert Francis Peckham issued a preliminary injunction against the County, finding that inmates were being denied adequate access to the courts and procedural guarantees in the disciplinary system. The Court ordered the parties to submit remedial plans to correct the deficiencies. The parties submitted plans and the District Court entered two consent decrees: (1) the "Access to the Courts Decree," which required the County to establish a law library for inmates; and (2) the "Amended Disciplinary Procedures Decree," which required the County to create a written code of rules and procedures to govern the imposition of in-jail disciplinary offenses.
In 1987, the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections began operating the County's jail system. It closed the jail libraries in 2003 and contracted with Legal Research Associates ("LRA") to serve inmates' legal research needs. Throughout the period of 1973 to 2005 both Decrees remained in effect.
The County then moved to terminate the Decrees under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b). On November 15, 2005, the District Court (District Judge Ronald M. Whyte) terminated the Access to the Courts Decree and the Amended Disciplinary Procedures Decree in its entirety except to the extent that it entitled inmates to a written statement of the evidence upon which the disciplinary panel relied. On August 30, 2006 the Court issued an order leaving in effect the Amended Disciplinary Procedures Decree's written statement clause, but advised the County it could move to terminate that provision in one year, upon a showing that they were in full compliance with the written statement requirement. A final judgment, which restated the Court's orders regarding termination, was entered on March 6, 2007. The judgment order also allowed plaintiff's counsel to seek attorney's fees. Plaintiffs appealed.
On November 3, 2009, the Ninth Circuit (Circuit Judges Ferdinand Francis Fernandez and Sidney Runyan Thomas and Senior District Judge Ann Aldrich sitting by designation) dismissed the appeal for lack of juridiction because it was untimely. On January 5, 2010, the Ninth Circuit panel denied Plaintiffs' motions for rehearing and rehearing in banc.Timothy Shoffner - 06/18/2012