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Graves v. Arpaio

October 13, 2010

FRED GRAVES AND ISAAC V. POPOCA, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
JOSEPH M. ARPAIO, SHERIFF OF MARICOPA COUNTY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND FULTON BROCK; DON STAPLEY; ANDREW KUNASEK; MAX W. WILSON; MARY ROSE WILCOX, DEFENDANTS.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Neil V. Wake, District Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. 2:77-cv-00479-NVW.

Per curiam.

FOR PUBLICATION

Argued and Submitted March 8, 2010 -- San Francisco, California

Before: Betty B. Fletcher, Richard R. Clifton, and Carlos T. Bea, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Defendant Joseph M. Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, appeals the district court's Second Amended Judgment. The judgment requires him to take affirmative measures to address conditions in Maricopa County jails that violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Sheriff Arpaio challenges two provisions of the Second Amended Judgment: its requirement that he provide pretrial detainees taking psychotropic medications with housing in which the temperature does not exceed 85° F, and its requirement that he provide detainees with food that satisfies the United States Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans ("Dietary Guidelines"). He argues that these provisions are procedurally flawed because the district court ordered prospective relief without giving him an opportunity to propose alternative remedies, and substantively flawed because the relief ordered by the district court is not the least intrusive means for correcting a current and ongoing violation of the rights of pre-trial detainees. For the reasons that follow, we disagree and affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1977, three indigent prisoners brought suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff and Board of Supervisors on behalf of all pretrial detainees held in Maricopa County jails. The detainees claimed that the harsh conditions of confinement at the jails violated their constitutional rights. They challenged, inter alia, prison overcrowding, inadequate recreational time, dangerously high temperatures, limited access to reading material, and inadequate food. The parties negotiated a comprehensive agreement that addressed each of the detainees' claims, and the district court entered a judgment adopting the terms of that agreement in 1981. The judgment was amended in 1995 to reflect changes in the prison population, new jail construction, advances in medical treatment, and evolution of the law.

The following year, Congress enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), Pub. L. 104-134, § 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (codified as amended in scattered sections of 18, 28, and 42 U.S.C.). In 1998, the defendants filed a Motion to Terminate the Amended Judgment. The district court denied the motion, the defendants appealed, and the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's denial and remanded this case in 2001.

Defendants submitted a Renewed Motion to Terminate the Amended Judgment. After some delay in the district court, the case was transferred to a different judge in April 2008, and that judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing for August 2008. The district court noted that this schedule, which was more rushed than either party desired, was necessary because the PLRA required the court to "promptly rule on any motion to modify or terminate prospective relief in a civil action with respect to prison conditions." 18 U.S.C. § 3626(e)(1). When the defendants asked that the hearing be postponed, the district court again emphasized the "grave urgency of this proceeding" and denied their Motion to Continue.

The parties jointly submitted a report recommending a schedule for discovery in anticipation of the August hearing. The report contemplated that the hearing would focus on whether there were ongoing and systemic violations of the rights of pretrial detainees held in Maricopa County jails. Plaintiffs briefly suggested that, if the district court found that there were ongoing violations, the court then hold a second hearing where defendants could propose a plan for addressing those violations. The district court largely adopted the parties' scheduling recommendations, but made clear that there would be only one hearing covering both liability and remedies. Combining the hearings posed no hardship to either party, the district court explained, and there was no reason for further delay.

The district court heard twelve days of evidence and argument in August and September 2008. While the hearing was ongoing, each party submitted a brief suggesting that the court hold a second hearing on remedies if plaintiffs prevailed on liability. The district court issued the Second Amended Judgment and accompanying Findings of Fact and Law in October 2008.

Sheriff Arpaio timely ...


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