Melendres v. Arpaio

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-15-2015
  • Case #: 13-16285
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Wallace for the Court; Circuit Judges Berzon and Graber
  • Full Text Opinion

An improperly joined non-jural entity may be dismissed and the proper entity added without harm to the underlying proceeding.

Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, and a representative class of individuals (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) obtained a permanent injunction against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (“MCSO”) and Sheriff Joseph Arpaio in his official capacity. The district court held that MCSO and Arpaio had employed unconstitutional racial bases in conducting saturation and non-saturation patrols. The use of race as a factor “in determining where to conduct patrol operations, in deciding whom to stop and investigate for civil immigration violations, and in prolonging the detentions of Latinos while their immigration status was confirmed” was held to be impermissible. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that an improperly joined non-jural entity may be dismissed, and the proper entity added without harm to the underlying proceeding. The panel ordered MCSO to be dismissed as non-jural and Maricopa County to be added. The panel also held that because the impermissible activity extended beyond saturation patrols and amounted to system-wide constitutional violations, it was proper to extend the injunction to all patrols. Some named plaintiffs had contact with MCSO outside of saturation patrols, but the panel held this inclusion was not an error in class certification because the system-wide violations affected contacts made in saturation and non-saturation patrols. Lastly, the panel held that the injunction was not overbroad because the court has discretion to develop policies that will remedy past wrongs. Due to the systematic unconstitutionality of the practices employed by MCSO, the injunction needed to include saturation and non-saturation patrols to be effectively remedial. AFFIRMED in Part, VACATED, and REMANDED in Part.

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