• 314.645.4400
  • Free Consultation
  • Call 24/7

Court Rules Jefferson County Detainment Procedures Unconstitutional

Federal Court Rules Against Jefferson County for Detainment Procedures

When an individual is wanted for questioning, a law enforcement agency can apply to have an arrest order issued so that if the specific individual is found, the officer making the stop knows to make an arrest. Typically, after the arrest is made, the individual can be subjected to questioning. Afterwards, that individual can either be released or charged with a crime and given a bond amount, normal detainment procedures.

Recently, the ACLU sued Jefferson County in federal court because the ACLU believed that hundreds of individuals were being held for significant amounts of time without having the right to a hearing. That case has concluded and the federal court agreed with the ACLU. The specific instance in which the lawsuit was brought arose when an individual was detained on an arrest order for 37 days without a hearing. Eventually, it was determined that the arrest order had previously been canceled. Clearly, 37 days without a hearing to determine bond or notify an individual of charges against them is a violation of due process. The ACLU claims there have been nearly 500 cases similar to this one.

As part of the federal court decision, Jefferson County is now required to release individuals detained on arrest orders within 27 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, if they have not had an opportunity to appear in front of a judge. Further, Jefferson County must develop procedures to make sure outdated or stale arrest orders are deleted from the database.

First, it is recommended, when an individual is arrested, that he or she exercise his or her right to remain silent until he or she has had an opportunity to speak with an attorney. Second, it is important to remember that even if you have not been charged, you can still retain counsel to guide you through any investigative process the law enforcement agency may be conducting. At Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. our lawyers are available 24/7 and handle pre-charge investigations and bond hearings on a regular basis. Our success has ranged from significantly reduced bonds to preventing charges all together. As always, the main goal is get our clients out of jail as fast as possible. Call us anytime at 314-645-4400 to discuss your legal rights.