820 F.2d 592 (3rd Cir. 1987), 87-1025, Harris v. Pernsley
|Citation:||820 F.2d 592|
|Party Name:||Martin HARRIS, Albert Anthony, Orlando X. McCrea, Tyrone Glenn, Carlos Royster, Amin Abdullah, Khalid Allah Muhammad, and Arnold Rutick, Charles Oakes, Emanuel Gardner v. Irene PERNSLEY, individually and in her official capacity as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia, Royal L. Sims, Rev. Albert Campbell, Lab|
|Case Date:||May 15, 1987|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit|
Argued March 3, 1987.
Rehearing and Rehearing In Banc
Denied June 15, 1987.
Sarah B. Vanderbraak (argued), Chief, Civil and Exceptional Litigation, Harriet R. Brumberg, Asst. Dist. Atty., Ronald Eisenberg, Chief, Appeals Unit, Gaele McLaughlin Barthold, Deputy Dist. Atty., Office of the Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant.
David Richman (argued), Philip H. Lebowitz, Thomas J. Wamser, Mary P. Hughues, Pepper, Hamilton & Sheetz, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellees Martin Harris, Albert Anthony, Orlando X. McCrea, Tyronne Glenn, Carlos Royster, Amin Abdullah, Khalid A. Muhammad, Arnold Furtick, Charles Oakes and Emanuel Gardner.
Handsel B. Minyard, City Sol., Richard J. Gold, Chief Deputy City Sol. (argued), Guy P. Vilim, Chief Asst. City Sol., Doris M. Leisch, Asst. City Sol., Office of the City Sol., Philadelphia, Pa., for all City of Philadelphia appellees.
Before GIBBONS, Chief Judge, and SEITZ and GARTH, Circuit Judges.
SEITZ, Circuit Judge.
Ronald Castille, the District Attorney of Philadelphia County, appeals the orders of the district court denying his motion to intervene as of right, 113 F.R.D. 615, and approving the settlement agreement reached by the parties in this prison conditions litigation, 654 F.Supp. 1042. This court has appellate jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1291 (1982).
In 1982 ten inmates at the Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia filed a pro se complaint in federal district court seeking damages and injunctive relief for themselves and for a class consisting of all inmates of the Holmesburg prison since that date and all future Holmesburg inmates. Counsel appointed for the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 (1982), alleging that the conditions of the prison violated the eighth and fourteenth amendments. The amended complaint named as defendants the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia officials responsible for supervising the prisons, the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Prison System, the Warden of the Holmesburg Prison
(collectively, the City Defendants or the City), and several state officials.
The district court dismissed the action on res judicata and abstention grounds in light of state court litigation, Jackson v. Hendrick, challenging the constitutionality of the Philadelphia prisons. This court reversed the district court's conclusion that the Jackson v. Hendrick litigation precluded hearing this action. Harris v. Pernsley, 755 F.2d 338 (3d Cir.1985). We denied the City's petition for rehearing on March 21, 1985. 758 F.2d 83 (3d Cir.1985). On November 4, 1985, the Supreme Court denied the defendants' petition for certiorari. --- U.S. ----, 106 S.Ct. 331, 88 L.Ed.2d 314 (1985).
After remand to the district court, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint expanding the plaintiff class to include the inmates of all the Philadelphia prisons and adding the wardens of the Detention Center and the House of Corrections as party defendants. The plaintiffs and City defendants then entered into settlement negotiations. On August 8, 1986, they informed the court that they had reached agreement. On this same date, the Mayor wrote the District Attorney a letter informing him that the parties had reached an agreement in this litigation and in the pending state court action. 1 A copy of a proposed consent decree was submitted to the district court on August 15.
On August 19 the District Attorney filed a motion to intervene as of right, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(a), as a full party defendant, or in the alternative, to intervene permissibly under Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b). Both the City Defendants and the plaintiffs opposed this motion.
The parties then withdrew the proposed consent decree. After consulting with representatives of the District Attorney and the state courts, the City defendants renegotiated a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. On October 3, the parties, except the state court defendants, submitted a second proposed consent decree to the court. It contained, among other things, a limit on the prison population.
After the second proposed consent decree was delivered to the district court, the District Attorney filed a proposed answer to the plaintiffs' complaint denying that the conditions in the Philadelphia prisons were unconstitutional. In addition, he submitted a proposed cross-claim against the City Defendants, alleging that the proposed consent decree unlawfully interfered with his functions. The cross-claim sought a declaratory judgment that the City had no power to interfere with the District Attorney's duties, including entering an agreement that would result in the release of inmates who are serving sentences or who present either a threat to the community or a risk that they will fail to appear for trial. The District Attorney also sought a permanent injunction against the City to prevent it from entering any settlement that interfered with his duties.
The district court held two evidentiary hearings and heard oral argument on the District Attorney's motion to intervene. The District Attorney presented witnesses and introduced stipulated statements of a number of persons. Appellees did not present any evidence, but did cross-examine the District Attorney's witnesses.
Edward Rendell, the District Attorney from January 1978 to January 1986, testified that he had no knowledge of this litigation while he served as the District Attorney. He further testified that he believed that a cap on prison populations would affect the District Attorney's interest in prosecutions because those released without
posting bail would not appear for their trials.
The present District Attorney testified that he did not learn of this litigation until August 1986. Deputy District Attorney Eric Henson testified that he became aware of this litigation in March 1985, when he read this court's opinion, and that he did not bring the case to the attention of the then District Attorney. He further stated that at that time he believed the City defendants were adequately representing the District Attorney's interest and that should the City decide not to litigate the case, it would inform the District Attorney before taking any action.
The District Attorney presented the testimony of Maria Terpolilli, the Senior Supervisor of the Bail Hearings Unit of the Pretrial Services Division of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, to provide evidence of the failure to appear rates for persons under various release programs, including the one instituted by the Jackson v. Hendrick litigation, and of the rearrest rates for persons released under the Jackson v. Hendrick program. 2 The District Attorney attempted to show that the failure to appear and rearrest rates under the Jackson v. Hendrick program were extremely high. After cross-examination of Terpolilli, however, the district court refused to admit the ratios that Terpolilli derived from her statistics, finding the ratios "meaningless."
In addition, the District Attorney proffered statements from a number of state court officials as to their discussions with City officials about the proposed agreements. Finally, the parties stipulated to statements from prison officials concerning the improvements in prison conditions since the Jackson v. Hendrick litigation was instituted. After hearing oral argument, the district court took the District Attorney's motion to intervene under advisement.
At the beginning of the hearing on the proposed consent decree, the district court informed the District Attorney that it was going to deny his motion to intervene. With the consent of the parties, however, the court permitted the District Attorney to present his objections to the proposed consent decree, both at the hearing and in written submissions. At the hearing, the District Attorney argued that the proposed settlement would endanger public...
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