501 F.3d 726 (6th Cir. 2007), 06-6055, Sickles v. Campbell County, Kentucky

Docket Nº:06-6055.
Citation:501 F.3d 726
Party Name:Calvin SICKLES et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CAMPBELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY; Kenton County, Kentucky, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:September 05, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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501 F.3d 726 (6th Cir. 2007)

Calvin SICKLES et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

CAMPBELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY; Kenton County, Kentucky, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 06-6055.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

Sept. 5, 2007

Argued: July 17, 2007.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington. Nos. 05-00096; 05-00102; 05-00110- William O. Bertelsman, District Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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ARGUED:

Stephen R. Felson, Newman & Meeks Co., LPA, Cincinnati, Ohio, for Appellants.

Jason V. Reed, Edmondson, Guenther & Rylee, Covington, Kentucky, Jeffrey C. Mando, Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing, Covington, Kentucky, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

Stephen R. Felson, Robert B. Newman, Newman & Meeks Co., LPA, Cincinnati, Ohio, for Appellants.

Jason V. Reed, Edmondson, Guenther & Rylee, Covington, Kentucky, Jeffrey C. Mando, Adams, Stepner, Woltermann & Dusing, Covington, Kentucky, for Appellees.

Before: GIBBONS and SUTTON, Circuit Judges; BECKWITH, Chief District Judge.[*]

OPINION

SUTTON, Circuit Judge.

May a municipal jail, consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, withhold a portion of an inmate's canteen-account funds in order to cover the costs of booking, room and board without providing the inmate with a hearing before it withholds the money? Yes, we hold, and accordingly we affirm the district court's rejection of this claim and two others.

I.

The municipal jails in Campbell County and Kenton County, Kentucky, require individuals who are arrested and jailed to surrender any property found on them. To ensure the return of these possessions, a municipal officer logs any property surrendered to the jail upon intake and places the items in storage. The counties treat cash differently. Each county deposits any cash into the inmate's canteen account, an account that the inmate may use to purchase goods from the commissary while in jail.

Friends and relatives also may contribute to an inmate's canteen account. In Kenton County, the jail will accept a money order, which the jail credits to the inmate's canteen account. In Campbell County, the municipal jail does the same, though it permits inmates to decline the money order; in addition, it permits a

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donor to charge a gift to his credit card through a third-party company, which then forwards the funds to the county jail. In both counties, a computer program tracks the funds deposited in each inmate's account.

Neither county grants inmates instant access to all funds deposited in their accounts. When Campbell County incarcerates an individual, it automatically withholds a fee--once $20, now $30--from the inmate's canteen account to cover the costs of booking and arraignment. See Ky.Rev.Stat. § 441.265(6). Both counties assess inmates a room-and-board fee--$20 a day in Campbell County, $5 a day in Kenton County--for each night they spend in the county jail. Campbell County withholds up to one quarter of any monetary gifts to the inmate to cover these fees as well as up to a quarter of any funds remaining in an inmate's canteen account at the end of each day. Kenton County recovers per diem fees by withholding up to one half of any funds given to an inmate as well as up to one half of any funds remaining in an inmate's canteen account at the end of the week. Kenton County does not charge inmates with a booking fee ($30) until it releases them.

In 2003, the Kenton County jail housed Aretta Baughn's son. Because she knew about the county's canteen-account policies, the first time she sent her son a gift she made the money order out to a state inmate incarcerated with her son to avoid any withholding of funds. See Ky.Rev.Stat. § 441.265(8) ("No per diem shall be charged to any prisoner ... that the Department of Corrections is financially responsible for housing."). She later directly sent to her son six additional money orders ranging from $10 to $100 in amount.

In January 2005, Campbell County officers arrested Aisha Abdulrahim's husband and held him in the municipal jail. She has sent him three money orders a month since then, and county officials have "confiscate[d] not less than 25% of the amount transmitted to her husband" each time. JA 36.

In early 2005, Campbell County held Cheryl Lightfoot's son in its municipal jail. While her son was there, Lightfoot sent him at least three money orders of $40 each, as well as several others in smaller amounts. She "tried to keep it at least 40 each time, because [she] knew [the county] would take a certain amount out" each time. JA 133.

On March 5, 2005, Campbell County officers arrested Calvin Sickles for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Sickles was carrying $128 in cash at the time, so Campbell County credited that amount to his canteen account less a $20 booking fee. On March 7, Sickles pleaded guilty to both charges. The state court sentenced him to two years of conditional discharge and ordered him to "[p]ay the cost of proceeding herein." Doc. 24, Ex. 2. When Sickles was discharged on March 16, Campbell County withheld his $20 booking fee.

On April 7, 2005, Campbell County officers arrested Chad Hensley for criminal possession of a forged prescription. Over the course of the next six weeks, a relative delivered nine money orders to the municipal jail, totaling $320. Hensley endorsed each of these money orders, knowing that the county would withhold part of each deposit to cover per-diem and booking fees. By the time Hensley was released on bond on May 27, he had accrued $1,032 in fees, and the county had withheld $110.27 to offset the fees.

On May 17, 2005, Sickles filed this § 1983 action in federal court, seeking (1) a declaration that Campbell County's deduction policy violated the Due Process Clause and (2) damages. On May 31, Lightfoot, Abdulrahim and Hensley filed a similar § 1983 action against Campbell

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County, and, on June 7, Baughn filed a similar § 1983 action against Kenton County. The district court consolidated all three matters. After hearing cross-motions on the issue, the district court granted summary judgment to the counties on all claims.

II.

A.

Sickles and Hensley challenge Campbell...

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