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Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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False Imprisonment/Wrongful Detention
Monthly Law Journal
Liability for Wrongful Detention of Detainees and Prisoners, Part 1,
2012 (4) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Wrongful Detention of Detainees and Prisoners, Part 2, 2012 (5) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: The Need for Prompt Probable Cause Hearings, 2012 (8) AELE Mo. L. J. 101.
A federal inmate
was erroneously awarded $172,465 in damages for false imprisonment under
the Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1495
and 2513(e). His lawsuit sought damages for 2,273 days he spent in pretrial
an post-trial confinement before his conviction for transportation of a
firearm in interstate commerce by a convicted felon was reversed. But he
received credit for each day he was in confinement against a 15 year sentence
he received after pleading guilty to mailing a threatening communication
and other charges. Therefore, there remained no "period of incarceration"
associated with the firearms charge that allowed him to receive an award
of damages. Crooker v. United States, #15-5056, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 12762
An immigration detainee claimed that he was kept in the custody of immigration authorities for almost 11 months, far longer than the 90-day statutory period for removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1231(a)(1)(A). He sought to assert a Bivens federal civil rights claim against various government officials on the basis that they allegedly made false statements to prolong his detention, knowing that the removal order could not legally be carried out. A federal appeals court held that no such civil rights claim was available to the plaintiff because the INA provides for sufficient meaningful remedies and Congress did not provide any avenues for the plaintiff and similarly situated aliens to seek money damages. Alvarez v. ICE, #14-14611, 016 U.S. App. Lexis 5506 (11th Cir.).
A D.C. prisoner was incarcerated for over two decades in both federal and state prisons on a conviction for raping and robbing a woman in 1981 when he was 18. After his parole, he was required to register as a sex offender, limiting his employment, housing, and other opportunities. During his incarceration, he suffered multiple instances of several sexual and physical assaults, and contracted HIV. In 2012, at the age of 50, he was exonerated and determined to be actually innocent of the robbery and rape, based on DNA evidence. He reached a settlement of claims against the federal government under the Unjust Convictions Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1495 and 2513, and the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq. of $1,128,082.19, based on $50,000 times the 22.56 years he was incarcerated. Continuing to pursue his claims against the District of Columbia under the D.C. Unjust Imprisonment Act, D.C. Code Sec. 2-421 et. seq., he was awarded $9,154,500 in damages for wrongful conviction, unjust imprisonment, sexual and physical assaults, contracting HIV, lost income, and physical and psychological injuries. A D.C. court found that his wrongful conviction and unjust imprisonment had been a proximate cause of all these damages. It also rejected an argument that D.C. was entitled to an offset from the award for the amount of the plaintiff's settlement with the federal government. Odom v. District of Columbia, #2013-CA-3239, 2015 D.C. Super. Lexis 2.
An Illinois prisoner claimed that the amount of time he had served prior to being sentenced was improperly calculated, resulting in him not being given sufficient credit for time served, and therefore being incarcerated for an extra four months. He sued the county sheriff and the court clerk, claiming that they were negligent in calculating and forwarding the information. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the prisoner did have a private right of action against the sheriff for incorrectly calculating the time served, even though the statute did not explicitly grant one. An implied right was found as necessary to provide an adequate remedy. While the statute only imposed on the court clerk the duty to accurately forward to the Department of Corrections the information received from the sheriff, the dismissal of claims against the clerk was without prejudice to the possibility that the plaintiff could amend his complaint to still state a claim against the clerk. Cowper v. Nyberg, 2015 IL 117811, 2015 Ill. Lexis 319.
A prisoner's release date was recalculated because of inaccurate information about how much time he had served in the county jail for theft. He had also been previous convicted as a sex offender. Advice was sought from the state's Attorney General, and the prisoner was not released when he expected. After he was finally released, he sued employees of the state Department of Corrections for false imprisonment and violation of his constitutional rights. A federal appeals court found that the defendants had not acted with deliberate indifference to the length of the plaintiff's incarceration, having sought legal advice and clarification from the Attorney General. Available state court remedies barred a federal due process claim. Armato v. Grounds, 13-1995, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 17265 (7th Cir.).
A U.S. citizen working at a construction site was arrested along with other employees and the contractor, after the contractor allegedly sold drugs to an undercover officer. When arrested, the plaintiff had a wallet with his driver's license, Social Security card, debit card, and health insurance card. His place of birth was listed as in New Jersey. Despite this, an officer, believing that he had given false information, contacted immigration authorities, who issued an immigration detainer, The detainee later sued, claiming that he was improperly detained without probable cause for over 48 hours, without notice of the basis of his detention or an opportunity to contest it. A federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of his false imprisonment claim. An immigration detainer is permissive, and did not compel the defendants to detain him. They were free to disregard it, and therefore could not use as a defense that their own decision or policy did not cause the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights. Galarza v. Szalczyk, #12-3991, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 4000 (3rd Cir.).
A prisoner sought damages for injuries he received when he was attacked by another prisoner at a county detention facility. He claimed that the facility staff were negligent in classifying him and housing him with his assailant, and because they failed to release him in a timely manner. Overturning an award of damages, the Supreme Court of Tennessee found that the injuries that he received as a result of the delay in releasing him were not reasonably foreseeable. There had been no prior incident between the two prisoners. King v. Anderson County, #E2012-00386-SC-R11, 2013 Tenn. Lexis 989.
A federal appeals court ruled that federal law enforcement officers whose unlawful conduct causes a person to be held in pretrial detention for three months without probable cause, may be liable for a Fourth Amendment claim asserted as a Bivens claim (a direct constitutional claim). The court ruled that "an individual's Fourth Amendment right to be free from seizure but upon probable cause continues through the pretrial period, 2 and that, in certain circumstances, injured parties can vindicate that right through a § 1983 or Bivens action." The two defendant officers were denied qualified immunity on a claim that they falsified their identification of the plaintiff as the suspect in an affidavit for an arrest warrant. The statute of limitations did not expire at a given time from the arrest, but rather from the date of the end of the wrongful incarceration as the continued detention without probable cause was a continuing wrong. Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, #12-1053, 723 F.3d 91 (1st Cir. 2013).
Four former Iowa prisoners sued the state director of the Department of Corrections, seeking damages from him in his individual capacity for violating their federal civil rights by failing to take action to prevent them from being detained beyond their release dates. He was entitled to qualified immunity on that claim. While a state Supreme Court decision concerning prisoner release dates imposed a duty on him to investigate and recalculate affected inmate release dates, that decision did not impose a clear deadline for the amount of time he had to recalculate thousands of release dates, including those of the plaintiffs. Accordingly, he was not fairly warned that the failure to complete those calculations within a specific period of time could violate the plaintiffs' Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment rights. Scott v. Baldwin, #12-3350, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 16194 (9th Cir.).
The California Department of Corrections was statutorily immune under state law from a lawsuit for damages stemming from the alleged erroneous revocation of parole. The plaintiff could not pursue his false imprisonment claim on the basis of his detention on a supposed parole violation after his parole had already expired. Torres v. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, #B242586, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 526.
A class of noncitizens was entitled to a preliminary injunction against their continued detention under federal immigration statutes without individualized bond hearings and a judicial determination as to whether their continued detention was justified. The plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their claim that a federal statute only allowed for six months of mandatory detention for alleged violations of immigration statutes, after which a bond hearing was required. Rodriguez v. Robbins, #12-56734, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 7565 (9th Cir.).
A man who was detained for eight months by immigration authorities was initially agreed to be a U.S. citizen by the defendants in a lawsuit that he brought over his alleged unlawful seizure and false imprisonment. As a citizen, these claims were not barred under a 1996 immigration act, but did bar such claims by aliens. After the trial court dismissed his lawsuit for failing to state a claim, the federal government cancelled his U.S. citizenship, contending that it had been obtained illegally and fraudulently. A federal appeals court ordered proceedings in the trial court to determine whether the plaintiff was a citizen, as, only then could he pursue his claims and an appeal of the dismissal by the trial court. Belleri v. United States, #12-11564, 712 F.3d 543 (11th Cir. 2013).
A federal court has approved an almost $18 million settlement to approximately 1,600 teenagers and their parents who claimed that the young people were wrongfully incarcerated at two for-profit youth detention centers by two county judges who were accused of taking over $2 million in payments from the real estate developer who built the facilities. Over 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by one of the judgers were thrown out based on evidence that he frequently tried juveniles without lawyers and routinely sent many to the juvenile facilities for months for the most petty of offenses. The two judges are accused of receiving money from the developer and extorting funds from the facilities' co-owner. Around $4.3 million in attorneys' fees is to be paid, with most of the juveniles receiving between $500 and $5,000. Dawn v. Ciavarella, #3:10-cv-00797, U.S. Dist. Court (M.D. Pa.), reported in The Times Herald, Norristown, Pa. (January 10, 2013).
A man arrested and allegedly detained in a county jail for nine days without formal charges claimed that he was improperly denied access to Oxycontin for his pain caused by his Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome. That medication had been prescribed by his regular doctor. Jail medical personnel substituted other pain medication that was non-narcotic. The detainee failed to show that this was a substantial violation from accepted professional medical standards or that jail nurses acted with deliberate indifference in following a jail doctor's instructions. A due process claim for his detention failed as he was brought before a court within 72 hours of his arrest, held without bail pursuant to a court order, and was released when the prosecutor failed to file formal charges within the time allowed by the court. Holloway v. Delaware County Sheriff, #12-2592, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 23823 ((7th Cir.).
Two California prisoners were kept confined beyond their scheduled dates of release for the purpose of completing an evaluation of whether they should be classified as sexually violent predators and therefore civilly committed. In both cases, the parole board had issued 45-day parole holds. The California Supreme Court found that the definition of what a "good cause" was for holding a prisoner beyond their sentence, contained in a state regulation, was invalid, but the parole board's reliance on it was excusable since no prior court decision had invalidated it. The board's action was excusable as a good faith mistake of law. In re Lucas, #S181788, 53 Cal. 4th 839, 137 Cal. Rptr. 3d 595, 269 P.3d 1160 (2012).
Former prisoners of state and city prisons in New York claimed that their due process rights were violated because they were kept incarcerated past the end of their court ordered sentences. Because there was no clearly established law concerning the issue of whether such prolonged incarceration violated due process, the defendant city and state prison officials and employees were entitled to qualified immunity from personal liability. The court emphasized that its decision did not "trivialize" the prisoners' protected liberty interest in being released from custody promptly after their sentences were concluded. Sudler v. City of New York, #11–1198, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 16438 (2nd Cir.).
A man who was sentenced to an alcohol treatment program on a DUI conviction was mistakenly held instead in jail for a month before the error in interpreting the sentencing order was discovered. He sued a number of correctional employees for alleged violations of his Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments rights in falsely imprisoning him. The trial court denied the defendants' motions for qualified immunity. The appeals court found that the trial judge erred by failing to make a detailed analysis of whether each defendant was entitled to qualified immunity on each of the constitutional claims and therefore ordered further proceedings. Handt v. Lynch, #11-1829, 681 F.3d 939 (8th Cir. 2012).
A prisoner's conviction for criminal sexual conduct was reversed by a Michigan state appeals court, and remanded for a new trial. For unknown reasons, one was not scheduled and the trial court was unaware of the 1989 reversal until 2007. As a result, he spent over seventeen years as a pretrial detainee after the reversal of his conviction. Rejecting his claim that the county was liable for violating the plaintiff's right to a speedy trial, the appeals court noted that there was no evidence that the prosecutor was directly responsible for the failure to respond to the appeals court's remand order. There was also no indication that the need for action at any time became obvious to a county policymaker, nor was what happened a predictable result of a county policy or inadequate training of assistant prosecutors. Heyerman v. County of Calhoun, #10-2322, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 10731, 2012 Fed. App. 160P (6th Cir.).
A man who completed a sentence for sexually abusing his minor daughter was kept incarcerated for an additional 375 days while the county sought to find an available place where he would be allowed to live as a registered sex offender. Rejecting a claim for false imprisonment under these circumstances, the court found that his claim was barred by the principles stated in Heck v. Humphrey, #93-6188, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), because his incarceration was not reversed, expunged, invalidated, or otherwise impugned by an earlier proceeding. A state appeals court decision remanding his habeas claim to the trial court did not satisfy the Heck requirements. Marlowe v. Fabian, #11–2748, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 7888 (8th Cir.).
A visitor to New Orleans was arrested for public intoxication and placed in the local jail just before Hurricane Katrina struck. He and other pretrial detainees were moved to higher cell tiers when water began rising in their cells, but in their new location, they were in their cells for days without water or food. Eventually evacuated by boat to a highway overpass with thousands of others from local detention facilities, he allegedly experienced additional thirst, hunger, and heat. The failure to bring him to court within 48 hours for a probable cause determination was excused by an emergency situation exception to the general rule, barring his false imprisonment claim. The failure to give him back his cell phone to allow him to call his attorney when the jail phone system was overloaded did not violate his rights under the circumstances because of the dangers of allowing detainees to possess cell phones. There was no liability for the various hardships cause by the circumstances of the hurricane. Waganfeald v. Gusman, #11-30081, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 5139 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner was sentenced as a habitual offender on his conviction for lewd and indecent acts on the basis of a prior rape conviction. The sentence was for "perpetual imprisonment for treatment until his rehabilitation, to last a minimum of twelve years." But he was not released until 27 years in custody, 15 years later than when he was eligible for release. He claimed that prison officials were liable for keeping him in custody beyond his lawful term of imprisonment, and that he ceased needing additional therapy treatment long before he was released. The defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because the prisoner failed to show that any of them individually were linked to specific acts that prevented him from being released earlier. Feliciano-Hernandez v. Pereira-Castillo, #11–1052, 663 F.3d 527 (1st Cir. 2011).
A prisoner was held longer than he should have been, and argued that, had prison officials checked court records, they would have noticed that he was ordered to serve concurrent rather than consecutive sentences, and released him sooner. The defendants were entitled to qualified immunity, since there was no clearly established case law imposing a duty on them to review a prisoner's original court records "beyond those in his institutional file." Alston v. Read, #10-15332, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 24741 (9th Cir.).
An Arizona man on lifetime probation since 1997 for attempted sexual contact with a minor violated his probation and was given a sentencing order in 2006 with a prison term of ten years. He remained incarcerated until 2009, even though the state supreme court ruled in 2008 that the maximum period of probation for his offense was five years, rather than probation for life. Therefore, when he violated probation in 2006, he had already been on probation longer than authorized by law for his offense. In his lawsuit against correctional officials, he claimed that his constitutional right not to remain incarcerated under a sentencing order subsequently held to be invalid was violated, and that the defendants were negligent under state law. The appeals court held that there was no duty, or authority, for correctional officials to review the legality of a prisoner's sentencing order, so they could not be held liable for failing to do so. Additionally, the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on the federal civil rights claim, as his continued incarceration had not violated any clearly established federal right. Stein v. Ryan, #10-16527, 2011 U.S.App. Lexis 23027 (9th Cir.).
A Mississippi man convicted of breaking into a car received a five year sentence, with four years conditionally suspended, and the first year to be served in house arrest. After he was arrested again during that first year on a misdemeanor charge, he was imprisoned for a total of fifteen months, until a state court held that the corrections department had not had the authority to reinstate the suspended four years of his sentence. He sued, claiming a violation of his constitutional rights. The appeals court held that the prisoner's detention for over 40 days in the absence of either a facially valid court order or warrant was a violation of his due process rights. The defendant Commissioner of the state Department of Corrections was entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however, since the department's interpretation of the original sentencing order was objectively reasonable, even though a state court subsequently held that the interpretation was wrong. Porter v. Epps, #09-60324, 659 F.3d 440 (5th Cir. 2011).
A Missouri prisoner sought damages for false imprisonment, claiming that he remained incarcerated for fourteen months after the end of his sentence, because prison officials failed to credit him for time served prior to sentencing, contrary to the court's order. The state Department of Corrections was immune from a claim for damages under the Eleventh Amendment. The trial court acted erroneously, however, in dismissing the former prisoner's damage claims against individuals on the basis that his proper remedy was a habeas petition. He was not seeking release from custody, the appeals court noted, but compensation for prior unlawful confinement. Harris v. McSwain; #11-1320, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 9527 (Unpub. 8th Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that he had been incarcerated beyond the maximum terms of his sentences for state convictions and a parole violation, and that the defendants violated his due process rights by incorrectly calculating his maximum sentence and by failing to conduct a parole revocation hearing when they revoked his parole and continued to detain him. A federal appeals court found that a federal lawsuit for damages was unavailable when success would necessarily imply the invalidity of the fact or duration of his confinement, which had not been otherwise invalidated. McKinney v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole, #10-3331, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 26124 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A prisoner claimed that various correctional officials and a prosecutor conspired to charge him with assaulting another inmate and wrongfully used that charge to keep him incarcerated beyond the maximum term of his sentence. He sought damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The prosecutor was entitled to absolute immunity for his decision to prosecute the plaintiff. A number of other defendants could not be held liable, as the prisoner did not really show their personal involvement in his prosecution, but instead simply sought to impose liability based on their supervisory role in the correctional system. The prisoner's demand for release had to be pursued in a habeas petition, and was relief not obtainable in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Tindell v. Pennsylvania, #10-2319, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 22430 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
An Ohio prisoner was placed on community control for a period of five years. The state moved to revoke that, and a court granted the motion. A state appeals court held that the revocation was improper because it occurred after the five year term had expired. He then sued the correctional department for false imprisonment. The state appeals court rejected the claim, since the judgment originally entered mandating his imprisonment was not void on its face, and its invalidity was only apparent after the appeals court decision ordering his release. McKinney v. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, #09AP-960, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 1908 (10th Dist.).
A prisoner was serving a number of sentences, including one for parole violation, with some to be served consecutively. In reviewing his status prior to his scheduled re-parole release date, it was discovered that his maximum sentence had expired 31 days earlier. This was because one judge, in resentencing the prisoner, failed to specify that the new sentence was to run consecutively to other existing sentences. He was then released. He sued various officials, seeking damages for violation of his civil rights in keeping him confined past his sentence. Upholding summary judgment for the defendants, the appeals court ruled that their actions were a mistake, and, at most, negligence, and did not constitute deliberate indifference to the prisoner's rights in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Granberry v. Chairman of the Penn. Board of Probation and Parole, #10-1514, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 20827 (Unpub.3rd Cir.).
A former Pennsylvania prisoner sued a records specialist with the state Department of Corrections, claiming that his alleged ineffectual action in resolving supposed errors in his sentencing calculation resulted in him being incarcerated beyond the maximum term of his imprisonment. Ruling that the defendant was entitled to qualified immunity, a federal appeals court found that the defendant did not act with deliberate indifference towards any clearly established right that the plaintiff had. The records specialist responded quickly and communicated the issue to the appropriate parties for review. While the issue took some time to resolve, it was not a simple one, as his proper release date was "complicated by multiple convictions, parole, parole violation, 'backtime,' and vacated sentences." There was no evidence that anything the records specialist did caused any delay in the prisoner's release. Montanez v. Thompson, #05-4430, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 8318 (3rd Cir.).
Former detainees in a jail claimed that they were wrongfully kept in custody for periods of time ranging from twenty-six to twenty-nine hours after a court had ordered their releases. A federal appeals court held that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department was entitled to summary judgment in their federal civil rights lawsuit, as the department's "many affirmative efforts" to attempt to remedy the problem indicated that there was no policy amounting to deliberate indifference to the detainees' rights. Mortimer v. Baca, #07-55393 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 2500 (9th Cir.).
Sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity on prisoner's claim that he was improperly kept in custody for almost a month after drug charges against him were dropped in another county. The sheriff failed to show that he had acted in good faith, based on the record. McGee v. Carrillo, No. 07-51363, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 21960 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
Federal court rejects challenge to the constitutionality of the practices of a state judge and other defendants who allegedly unnecessarily lengthened the confinement of persons found incompetent to stand trial, and to procedures used by state mental health authorities to involuntarily hospitalize persons found mentally ill. Monaco v. Hogan, CV-98-3386, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 70510 (E.D.N.Y.).
Prisoner re-incarcerated for committing criminal offenses while out on parole was legally re-incarcerated, but was not afforded a timely parole violation hearing, resulting in him being falsely imprisoned for 74 days. The inmate was entitled, under Ohio law, to damages for mental distress, and to compensation for the days he was falsely imprisoned. The measure of damages for false imprisonment, however, was not that afforded under state law to an innocent person who was wrongfully imprisoned, but rather the lesser amount provided to a person falsely imprisoned beyond the term of his lawful incarceration. Dentigance v. Adult Parole Authority, Case No. 2005-04373, 2008 Ohio Misc. Lexis 175 (Ohio Ct. of Claims).
A prisoner who claimed that the state of Virginia subjected him to false imprisonment by improperly extending the length of his prison sentence could pursue a federal civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 for money damages. The court noted that the federal courts of appeal were split about whether a prisoner could obtain money damages in such a case when it was no longer possible to meet the "favorable termination" requirement of Heck v. Humphrey, #93-6188, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), via habeas corpus, but held that the "high purposes" of Sec. 1983 would be "compromised" if there was no judicial forum to seek relief for alleged unlawful imprisonment, and ruled that the plaintiff could proceed with his lawsuit. (Under Heck, in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus). Wilson v. Johnson, No. 07-6347, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 15870 (4th Cir.).
An inmate held after the expiration of his sentence in an Ohio correctional facility failed to show that he was entitled to damages for lost wages during his false imprisonment when his own statements showed that, when he was not incarcerated, he performed "odd jobs" for cash. He also failed to show that he was entitled to damages for emotional distress, but was awarded a certain amount of damages, including his filing fee. Thomson v. Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections, No. 2006-02617, 2008 Ohio Misc. Lexis 56 (Ohio Ct. of Claims).
While an inmate was kept in the county jail over 200 days past his one-year sentence of incarceration (which was to be followed by several years of probation), there was no showing that the sheriff either directly imprisoned him beyond his sentence or was deliberately indifferent to the consequence of his inaction. The chief jailer had contacted a state probation and parole officer to determine when the prisoner should be released on probation, but received no response. Claims against the sheriff in his individual capacity were, therefore, properly rejected, while further proceedings were ordered on official capacity claims. Shorts v. Bartholomew, No. 06-5877, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 24634 (6th Cir.).
Jail supervisory personnel were not shown to have acted with deliberate indifference to the right of prisoners to be released when ordered by a court. Any mistakes which resulted in the plaintiffs being detained after such court orders were not the result of jail policies concerning the processing of court orders, but rather were due to "unfortunate lapses" by non-supervisory personnel, stemming from cuts in the jail's budget and staff size. West v. Tillman, No. 06-14479, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 20329 (11th Cir.).
Florida prisoner failed to present a valid federal civil rights claim for false imprisonment based on the fact that he was kept in custody for seven days longer than he should have, when he failed to show that either the sheriff's office or a defendant deputy had actual knowledge of documentation showing that he was entitled to release. Rodriguez v. Broward Sheriff's Office, No. 06-13171, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 9547 (11th Cir.).
An Ohio prisoner who was not released until five days after he was entitled to be free could not seek damages for false imprisonment from the state correctional agency when there was no proof that the Department had knowledge of a court order granting him additional credit for time previously served before he was released. Hess v. Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, Case No. 2004-09576, 2006 Ohio Misc. Lexis 194 (Ohio Ct. of Claims). [N/R]
City Department of Corrections was not liable for damages for having kept an inmate in custody beyond the maximum length of his sentence. There was no showing that the extended detention was the result of an official city policy or custom. Dupree v. City of New York, No. 04CV0992, 418 F. Supp. 2d 555 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). [N/R]
Detainee kept for six days at county detention facility after a judge ordered his release without bail failed to show that a county policy caused his prolonged incarceration or that there was a widespread pattern of such problems that the county knew about. Russell v. Hennepin County, No. 04-3922, 420 F.3d 841 (8th Cir. 2005). [2006 JB Feb]
A twelve-hour delay in releasing a detainee after a judge determined that no bail was required on his intoxicated driving charge did not "shock the conscience," and was not caused by any official county policy or custom. Federal appeals court upholds summary judgment for county and sheriff in detainee's due process lawsuit. Lund v. Hennepin County, No. 05-1791, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 23833 (8th Cir.). [2005 JB Dec]
California parole agents and other defendants were immune from liability for detainee's incarceration in county jail for 25 days based on mistaken identity under state statute which provides immunity for both public agencies and employees for claims arising out of determinations as to whether to parole or release a prisoner. Perez-Torres v. State, No. B179327, 33 Cal. Rptr. 3d 227 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. 2005). [N/R]
Georgia county sheriffs were not entitled to qualified immunity against detainees' claim that they were kept in jail past their scheduled release dates for periods ranging from one to ten days, since it is clearly required that detainees be released within a reasonable period of time after there is no lawful basis for their continued confinement. Powell v. Barrett, No. 1:04-CV-1000, 376 F. Supp. 2d 1340 (N.D. Ga. 2005). [N/R]
Ten hour delay in releasing a prisoner from a county detention facility after she had posted bail was insufficient to show a violation of her constitutional rights when it was not based on deliberate indifference by anyone to her right to release, but rather on mere negligence, including a problem with a new computer system in which she was allegedly "lost" for several hours. Golberg v. Hennepin County, No. 04-2756, 417 F.3d 808 (8th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Nov]
Florida Department of Corrections did not falsely imprison an inmate when it allegedly disregarded the language of a sentence imposed at trial providing that it was to be concurrent with a sentence imposed against him in an unrelated case. The Florida intermediate appeals court found that this language was a "nullity" because the sentence referred to arising out of the prior conviction had already been fully served, so that the Department was required, by a state statute, to run the new sentence consecutive to the sentence already served. Whipple v. Department of Corrections, No. 3D03-2877, 892 So.2d 554 (Fla. App. 3d Dist. 2005). [N/R]
It was clearly established law that deliberately holding a prisoner in custody beyond a statutorily prescribed mandatory release date violated the prisoner's constitutional rights, so that Wisconsin Department of Corrections employees accused of keeping a prisoner incarcerated for 377 days beyond that date were not entitled to qualified immunity. Allen v. Guerrero, No. 03-1356, 688 N.W.2d 673 (Wis. App. 2004). [N/R]
Five correctional employees allegedly responsible for continued incarceration of prisoner for 57 days after a court ordered him released were not entitled to qualified immunity from his federal civil rights lawsuit. A sixth employee, whose sole involvement was failing to investigate further when the prisoner returned from court without a required form, was granted qualified immunity by appeals court. Davis v. Hall, #02-3923 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 14385 (8th Cir.). [2004 JB Sep]
U.S. Supreme Court rules that foreign nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, captured in Afghanistan hostilities, have a right to access to U.S. courts to challenge the legality of their detention, and that U.S. citizen detained as an "enemy combatant" for allegedly fighting against the U.S. in Afghanistan, also had a due process right to access to a "neutral decision maker" to challenge the factual basis for his detention. In a third case involving a U.S. citizen detained as an "enemy combatant" on U.S. soil for alleged involvement in terrorist conspiracy, Court does not reach ultimate issues because of procedural defects in court filing. Rasul v. Bush, No. 03-334, 2004 U.S. Lexis 4760; Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, No. 03-6696, 2004 U.S. Lexis 4761; Rumsfeld v. Padilla, No. 03-1027, 2004 U.S. Lexis 4759. [2004 JB Aug]
County sheriff was not entitled to summary judgment in lawsuit seeking damages for continued detention of arrestee after release notice was allegedly received, based on factual disputes about when the notice was actually received and whether there was deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's right to release from incarceration at that time. Green v. Baca, 306 F. Supp. 2d 903 (C.D. Cal. 2004). [N/R]
Statute of limitations on former federal prisoner's claim against the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346, 2671 et seq., for negligence in miscalculating his release date began to run when he obtained habeas relief from his continued incarceration, rather than on the date that the miscalculation was allegedly made. Federal appeals court overturns dismissal of lawsuit as time-barred. Erlin v. U.S., No. 00-16986, 364 F.3d 1127 (9th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Federal jury awards $750,000 to man incarcerated for 15 days after misidentified as person sought in outstanding warrant. Sheriff's department argued, in defense, that there was no duty for it to have a procedure in place to investigate a detainee's claim that he was not the suspect sought in a warrant. Hernandez v. Sheahan, No. 99C-6441, U.S. District Ct., N.D. Ill, Nov. 25, 2003, reported in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 25, February 20, 2004. [N/R]
Prisoner who claimed that his sentence had been miscalculated, resulting in him being held beyond his proper release date, could not seek damages following his release when he had failed to previously have his sentence set aside. The fact that, after his release, habeas action to challenge the constitutionality of his sentence was no longer available did not alter the result. Mitchell v. Dept. of Corrections, 272 F. Supp. 2d 464 (M.D. Pa. 2003). [2003 JB Dec]
New York Department of Correctional Services was not barred from extending a prisoner's sentence based on a prior error in calculating his tentative conditional release date. The Department had a "continuing, non-discretionary, ministerial duty" to make accurate calculations of terms of imprisonment, a duty that "requires it to correct known errors." Maguire v. New York State Division of Parole, 757 N.Y.S.2d 391 (A.D. 2003). [N/R]
There was a material issue of fact as to whether a classification officer and an assistant warden acted with deliberate indifference to the issue of whether a prisoner was being kept confined beyond the expiration of his sentence, violating his constitutional right to a timely release from prison, after prisoner filed a grievance allegedly informing them of the correct commencement date of his sentence. McCurry v. Moore, 242 F. Supp. 2d 1167 (N.D. Fla. 2002). [N/R]
When trial court's order dismissed most of prisoner's claims against county employees for allegedly keeping him incarcerated beyond his sentence, but failed to dispose of his claims against one employee, the order was not a final judgment and therefore was not yet appealable by the prisoner. Eubanks v. McCollum, #2000758, 828 So. 2nd 935 (Ala. Civ. App. 2002).[N/R]
County's failure to promptly investigate detainees' claims that they were not the persons sought by arrest warrants would violate a duty under Washington state law. Such violations, standing alone, are not a basis for federal civil rights claims, Stalter v. State of Washington, #27118-4-II, 227351-9-II, 51 P.3d 837 (Wash. App. 2002). [2002 JB Dec]
Correctional employee was entitled to qualified immunity for keeping prisoner in custody one day longer than he otherwise would have been released, based on a verbal representation that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest in another jurisdiction. Wilson v. Zellner, 200 F. Supp. 2d 1356 (M.D. Fla. 2002). [2002 JB Oct]
Prisoner's claim contending that seventy days were unlawfully added to his Missouri state court sentence involved only interpretations of state law and therefore could not be pursued as a federal civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. Donaldson v. Purkett, #01-3262, 33 Fed. Appx. 233, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 7393, 2002 WL 655549. (8th Cir.). [N/R]
Continued confinement of prisoner for a longer period of time than that stated in his sentence did not result in liability of county for false imprisonment and federal civil rights violation when the order specifying the date of the end of his work release program, violation of which resulted in his reincarceration, was a "facially valid order" of a court with proper jurisdiction. Holmberg v. County of Albany, 738 N.Y.S.2d 701 (A.D. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
State Department of Corrections was required to honor court accepted plea agreements with prisoners and sentencing court's imposed sentences, and could not unilaterally modify those sentences based on its own determination, for instance, that such sentences violated a state statute concerning when prisoners were entitled to concurrent rather than consecutive sentences. Correctional officials usurped judicial power by doing so. Prisoner's due process rights, however, were not violated, as they had no right to sentences which violated state statutes, and those sentences "must be vacated." Hamilton v. Freeman, No. COA00-1470, 554 S.E.2d 856 (N.C. App. 2001). [N/R]
Mentally disabled former prisoner and his mother stated a claim against city and county for failure to adequately train their employees in case where improper identification of him as a fugitive sought in a warrant from another state allegedly led to his extradition and two-year imprisonment. Lee v. County of Los Angeles, #98-55807, 240 F.3d 754 (9th Cir. 2001). [N/R]
Prisoner could not assert a claim for damages caused by his incarceration when his criminal conviction had not been set aside. Sims v. Marnocha, No. 3:00-CV-0736, 159 F. Supp. 2d 1133 (N.D. Ind. 2001), citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). [N/R]
Arrestee kept in county jail for twenty-seven days while waiting for a court-ordered psychological evaluation which was never performed could not recover damages against the county for false imprisonment under Florida state law. Summary judgment was denied, however, on federal constitutional due process claim. Card v. Miami-Dade County, Florida, 147 F. Supp. 2d 1334 (S.D. Fla. 2001). [N/R]
297:132 Federal appeals court rules that Los Angeles County sheriff's department, in checking records to determine when prisoners are to be released, acts on behalf of the county whose jails it administers, and not as an "arm of the state," and therefore is not entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in lawsuit by former prisoners claiming that they were improperly detained for longer time periods. Streit v. County of Los Angeles, #99-55897, 236 F.3d 552 (9th Cir. 2001).
294:85 NY officials reach $3.25 million settlement in lawsuit over mistaken two-year imprisonment of mentally ill homeless man extradited to the state after being misidentified as a fugitive drug dealer. Sanders v. N.Y. Depart. of Corrections, No. 97 Civ. 7112 (DAB), U.S. Dist. Ct. (S.D.N.Y. April 12, 2001), reported in The New York Times, National Edition, p. A14 (April 13, 2001).
293:71 Former Texas prisoner, who claimed he was incarcerated for nine-months after the proper termination of his sentence, could not seek money damages in federal civil rights lawsuit when his conviction and sentence were not previously set aside; fact that he could no longer seek federal habeas relief, since he was no longer in custody, did not alter the result. Randell v. Johnson, No. 99- 11092, 227 F.3d 300 (5th Cir. 2000).
EDITOR'S NOTE: In reaching this result, the court disagreed with three other federal appeals circuits which have ruled that Heck's rule requiring the favorable termination of prior court proceedings concerning the plaintiff's conviction or sentence should be relaxed for plaintiffs who have no procedural vehicle to challenge their conviction. See Jenkins v. Haubert, #98-2408, 179 F.3d 19 (2d Cir. 1999); Shamaeizadeh v. Cunigan, #98-5451, 182 F.3d 391 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 120 S. Ct. 531 (1999); and Carr v. O'Leary, #96-3885, 167 F.3d 1124 (7th Cir. 1999). Two other federal appeals circuits have adopted the same rule. See Cabrera v. City of Huntington Park, #96-55258, 159 F.3d 374 (9th Cir. 1998), and Figueroa v. Rivera, #97- 2252, 147 F.3d 77 (1st Cir. 1998).
295:99 Existence of state law remedies for false imprisonment did not bar prisoner's federal civil rights claim that his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he was allegedly held in custody for 90 days beyond his scheduled release date; two year Kansas statute of limitations rather than one-year statute applied to federal
claim. Gragg v. McKune, No. 84,354, 16 P.3d 311 (Kan. App. 2000).
289:5 Mississippi man mistakenly kept in county jail for ten months after city charges against him were dismissed awarded $36,200 against city; county sheriff and deputy sheriff were not liable when they never received notice that city charges were resolved. Jones v. City of Jackson, 396-CV-510-LN, U.S. 5 (S.D. Miss.), reported in The National Law Journal, p. A14 (Oct. 30, 2000).
EDITOR'S NOTE: In another recent case, a prisoner in Ohio who wound up spending an extra 13 months in a state penitentiary after his 3-1/2 sentence expired reached a $25,000 settlement from the state. Carter v. Ohio, settlement reported in The Cleveland, Oh Plain Dealer, August 31, 2000. This was reportedly the largest the state had ever paid in such a case, with the prior record being an award of $16,106 paid to a prisoner named Corder in Hamilton County, Ohio in 1994 for 149 days of illegal confinement.
243:40 $5.85 million settlement in class action suit brought by prisoners detained in county jail for longer than ten hours after judges ordered their release. Watson v. Sheahan, No. 94 C- 6891, U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D.Ill, reported in Chicago Sun Times, p. 3 (Nov. 27, 1996).
219:38 Prisoner could recover for false imprisonment if correctional officials kept him confined beyond the date of completion of his sentence without "intervening justification." Corder v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr., 94 Ohio App. 3d 315, 640 N.E.2d 879 (1994).
Failure to release inmate after court order suspending his sentence became final deprived him of due process; prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity in suit seeking damages; reliance on advice of counsel did not alter result. Slone v. Herman, 983 F.2d 107 (8th Cir. 1993).
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