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Federal judge certifies class-action suit against jail

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A federal judge has certified a class-action suit against the Lake County sheriff and others brought by a group of pretrial detainees who were held in the county jail in conditions they claim were unconstitutional.

Chief Judge Philip P. Simon of the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana granted the motion Wednesday in Richard Flood, et al. v. Roy Dominguez, individually in his capacity as sheriff of Lake County, Ind., et al., No. 2:08-CV-153.

The plaintiffs claimed detainees are consistently left in overcrowded holding cells for long periods of time. The holding cells are temporary homes for arrestees before they are moved to permanent housing. The cells range in size from 15-by-15-feet to 20-by-30-feet, have no beds or mattress, one toilet, and hold multiple detainees at a time.

All of the plaintiffs were left in a holding cell for at least 24 hours; some potential class members claim they were held for 3 to 45 days. The plaintiffs argue the conditions of these cells are unsanitary - “the walls and floor are often covered with bodily fluids, each holding cell has one toilet, which is often backed up and rarely has toilet paper; and Jail personnel do not provide detainees any means to clean themselves,” wrote the chief judge.

Their core complaint is that the jail doesn’t provide these detainees beds or something to sleep on. They also argue that food portions are inadequate and they must fight for food, the cells are consistently cold, there’s no ventilation, and bright lights are constantly on.

The class covers all detainees of Lake County, Ind., jail who were confined in the jail’s holding cells for more than 24 hours on or after May 13, 2006.

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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