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Special Litigation : Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section

The Special Litigation Section is one of several Sections in the Civil Rights Division. We work to protect civil rights in the following areas: 1) the rights of people in state or local institutions, including: jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and health care facilities for persons with disabilities; 2) the rights of individuals with disabilities to receive services in their communities, rather than in institutions; 3) the rights of people who interact with state or local police or sheriffs' departments; 4) the rights of youth involved in the juvenile justice system; 5) the rights of people to have safe access to reproductive health care clinics; and 6) the rights of people to practice their religion while confined to state and local institutions. We can also act on behalf of people at risk of harm in these areas.

Special Litigation News
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The United States Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland have entered into a court enforceable agreement to address the department's findings that the Cleveland Division of Police engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Justice Department has completed its investigation of the Hinds County Adult Detention Center and the Jackson City Detention Center and issued a letter of findings that determined that Hinds County, Mississippi, violates prisoners' constitutional rights at both jail facilities.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The Justice Department announced that it has reached an agreement with Leflore County, Mississippi, to improve security and facility conditions at the Leflore County Juvenile Detention Center in Greenwood, Mississippi.

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On May 8, 2015, the Civil Rights Division announced a comprehensive investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. The investigation will assess whether Baltimore police officers engage in a pattern or practice of violating Constitutional rights or federal laws by using excessive force, making unlawful arrests, searches, and other seizures, or by carrying out enforcement activities in a discriminatory manner. Individuals with information relevant to this investigation may contact the Civil Rights Division at or by phone at 1-844-401-3733.
The Justice Department opened an investigation of the Truancy Court and Juvenile District Courts of Dallas County, Texas. The investigation will focus on whether the courts provide due process for children charged with the criminal offense of failure to attend school and for children whom the courts charge with contempt. The investigation will also focus on whether the courts provide meaningful access to the judicial process for children with disabilities. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 1-855-258-1433.
The United States Department of Justice, through the Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio, and the City of Cleveland are seeking interested individuals, firms, or organizations to serve as the Independent Monitor, either as the lead Monitor or as a subject-matter expert on the Monitor's team.
On March 4, 2015, DOJ announced the results of its investigation of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD), finding that FPD's police and municipal court practices systematically violate the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. DOJ determined that FPD's approach to law enforcement is unduly focused on revenue generation and that its practices both reflect and exacerbate existing race bias.
Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and DOJ's Civil Rights Division clarifying that those juvenile justice residential facilities that receive Federal funding, like all other public schools, must comply with Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability.
In May 2014, the Department of Justice and private plaintiffs reached an agreement with the state of Ohio, under which the State Department of Youth Services will dramatically reduce, and eventually eliminate, its use of seclusion on young people in its custody.
After a systemwide investigation, the Department of Justice found that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections uses solitary confinement in ways that violate the rights of prisoners with serious mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
The Justice Department and Education Department join in this Statement of Interest to affirm and clarify the protections afforded to youth with disabilities by title II of the ADA, the IDEA, and their implementing regulations, where the plaintiffs have alleged violations based on the denial of special education and related services when youth are locked in solitary confinement at a juvenile hall.
The Justice Department opened a pattern or practice investigation of the Family Court (Juvenile Court) of St. Louis County, Missouri. The investigation focuses on whether the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to all children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and whether the court's administration of juvenile justice provides equal protection rights to all children regardless of race. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 855-228-2151.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the City of Meridian, Miss.; Lauderdale County, Miss.; judges of the Lauderdale County Youth Court; and the state of Mississippi alleging that the defendants systematically violate the due process rights of juveniles. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at
On December 2, 2011, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas E. Perez sent identical letters to more than 150 local law enforcement agencies in Alabama, informing them of the Divisionís monitoring activities and reminding them of their obligations to engage in non-discriminatory policing. Read More
General Information Special Litigation Section
Judy Preston
Acting Chief
Special Litigation Section
(202) 514-6255
toll-free at (877) 218-5228

FAX - (202) 514-0212
Alt. FAX - (202) 514-6273
Email -
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