The federal detainees in this habeas action moved for a preliminary injunction, and the state sheriff moved to dismiss. The court refused to dismiss the case, holding (1) habeas relief is available to a petitioner challenging the fact or duration of his confinement and seeking release, given the “extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic” (2) PLRA exhaustion and PLRA “prison release order” requirements did not to apply a proceeding sounding in habeas; (3) even if PLRA exhaution did apply, “requiring each of the more than 160 federal detainees at PCCF to file a separate grievance for each condition at issue here…would be so impractical as to render it futile” and (4) Moniz was the appropriate respondent, as the immediate custodian. The court also denied emergency injunctive relief, finding that the measures taken by PCCF (including 14 day quarantines for new detainers, efforts to social distance for meals and sleeping arrangements, etc.) were sufficient enough that the petitioners would be unlikely to show deliberate indifference. However, the court required continued monitoring and mitigating measures and chastised PCCF’s failure to provide “clear, detailed, institution-wide education about the risks of COVID-19 generally, the proper use of face masks, and the importance of social distancing.” “The Court notes that in reaching this conclusion, the Court has not found—and does not believe—that a petitioner must be on the precipice of serious illness or death in order to establish standing, substantial risk of serious harm to health, a likelihood of irreparable harm, or a likelihood of success on the merits.”
Baez v. Moniz, No. 1:20-cv-10753-LTS (D. Mass. May 18, 2020)
Criminal (Federal Charges)
Preliminary Injunction (PI), Release, Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Type of Court
Federal District Court
Type of Case
Elderly, Immigrant Detention, Post-Conviction Detention [jail or prison], Pre-Existing Health Conditions, Pretrial Detention [jail]
Compassionate Release Case
Compassionate Release Specific Characteristics
Went to trial
Case Tracking Number
MORE CASE INFORMATION
Place of Incarceration
Name of Facility
Plymouth County Correctional Facility (“PCCF”)
Eighth Amendment - Deliberate Indifference, Procedural Due Process (both 14th and 5th Amendments), Substantive Due Process - Deliberate Indifference (both 14th and 5th Amendments), Substantive Due Process - Punitive Detention (both 14th and 5th Amendments)
Moniz, the superintendent of the detention PCCF and respondent, was ordered to file a status report "explaining whether and how PCCF is expanding its testing in line with the institution-wide testing occurring in DOC facilities, and if not, why not." Id. at 21. The court also said it explicitly does not endorse the detention center's "failure to provide clear, detailed, institution-wide education about the risks of COVID-19 generally, the proper use of face masks, and the importance of social distancing." Id. at 20.
Compassionate Release Exhaustion Holdingsin Federal Case
Other, Exhaustion satisfied because Asaro's release for compassionate release was denied by the prison.
Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Age, Cognitive Disability, Other, Schizophrenia, Month long respiratory infection
COVID-19 Positive or Symptomatic
COVID-19 in Jail Prison or Detention Center
Crowdsourced legal documents from around the country related to COVID-19 and incarceration, organized, collected, and summarized for public defenders, litigators, and other advocates. Created and managed by Bronx Defenders, Columbia Law School’s Center for Institutional and Social Change, UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, and Zealous. Mostly federal court opinions, but now expanding to states and legal filings, declarations, and exhibits.
This resource is designed to help lawyers, advocates, researchers, journalists, and others interested in challenging, remedying, or drawing attention to the grave risk that Covid-19 poses to individuals who are detained.