University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Legal Construction of Litigation Threat in a Correctional Organization: A Case Study of Sarnicola v County of Westchester"
Date Dec 4, 2004
Author Patrick Troy
Author Institution Washington University
Author Role Law Student
Paper [ PDF ]
Abstract This paper focuses on issues of legal construction in the context of a correctional organization. Specifically, through an examination of Sarnicola v. County of Westchester--No. 01-CV-6078 (S.D.N.Y.), 229 F. Supp. 2d 259 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)--the author assesses the factors that initially allow for legal construction to occur, as well as the environmental conditions that govern how accurately legal communicators convey issues of law to other personnel within correctional facilities. The body of the paper includes background information on Sarnicola v. County of Westchester, an evaluation of Westchester County’s organizational response to the Sarnicola decision, a critique of the performance of County Attorney Jane Hogan Felix as legal communicator to the Department of Corrections and an analysis of the pressures that county attorneys face in trying to shield the County and its employees from legal liability. The author does not make any definitive statements regarding the role of legal communicators in correctional facilities around the country. Instead, general conclusions are drawn about the propensity of legal communicators in correctional organizations to accurately portray the law to non-attorney personnel, namely corrections officers. Eventually, the analysis ends with the understanding that legal communicators play a vital role in any organization that is subject to the ongoing threat of litigation. The very nature of corrections facilities as a magnet for litigation only emphasizes the importance of legal communicators within jail and prison organizations. While this conclusion is, of course, only an assessment of the Westchester County corrections organization, the author posits that some aspects of the analysis are equally applicable to the larger spectrum of correctional facilities.

This Resource Relates To
case Sarnicola v. County of Westchester (PN-NY-0002)

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