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Summary Judgment Granted to a County Sheriff for a Civil Detainees Civil Violation

A California Federal District Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit alleging violation of a civil detainee’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Civil detainee John T. Sundquist was at the Atascadero State Hospital under the California Sexually Violent Predator Act when on October 12, 2004, he was transported by Transcor America to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) for a civil recommitment proceeding. As he was transported, he was not isolated from criminal prisoners. When he arrived at HCCF, he was strip searched with a visual body cavity search and housed 72 days with a criminal prisoner in a two-man cell in the protective custody unit.

Sundquist filed a suit against Transcor America for transporting him with prisoners and Sheriff Gary Philp for housing him with a prisoner and for the illegal strip search.

The court held on March 28, 2008, that a jury could find that the use of local law enforcement facilities and HCCF blanket policy allowing strip searches with “any” detainee that comes in contact visit with any person outside HCCF is legal. The court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion. See: Sundquist v. Philp, U.S.D.C. Cal., 2008, Case No. 06-3387, WL 859452.

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Related legal case

Sundquist v. Philp