In a new class action lawsuit filed on February 23, 2023, HSPRD is challenging Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s systemic practice of overdetaining people in its jail for as many as 56 days after the legal basis for their pretrial detention has ended. “It’s a flagrant violation of people’s most fundamental constitutional right to freedom from unwarranted physical detention,” HSPRD Partner Kate Schwartz told a Cleveland.com reporter during a recent interview about the case. The lawsuit alleges that Cuyahoga County, one of the largest and most populous counties in Ohio, has been violating the Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights of hundreds of people for more than two years, despite repeatedly receiving letters from the Cleveland Division of Police notifying it of its unlawful practice.
HSPRD attorneys Kate Schwartz, Caryn Lederer, and Emily Brown are co-counseling the case with attorney Dami Animashaun, as well as attorneys Lucy Bansal and Janet Herold of Justice Catalyst Law. They represent named Plaintiff Alanna Dunn, whose legal basis for detention ended within a few hours of her arrest in 2021, when the Cleveland Police declined to file charges against her. She continued to be unlawfully detained in the Cuyahoga County Jail for two more days. Such needless and unjustifiable periods of pretrial detention are well known to cause people to suffer myriad devastating and long-lasting consequences, ranging from mental anguish and hindered familial relationships to lost jobs, income and housing.