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JANET RENO
Attorney General of the United States

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Special Litigation Section

MELLIE H. NELSON
Deputy Chief, Special Litigation Section

ROBERT MOOSSY
Trial Attorney, Special Litigation Section
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

FREDERICK A. BLACK
United States Attorney

GREGORY BAKA
Assistant United States Attorney
District of the Northern Mariana Islands
Horiguchi Building, 3d Floor
Saipan, MP 96950
(670) 234-9133

Attorneys for the United States
of America
 


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR

THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
 


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

v.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS, GOVERNOR OF THE  NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS, COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, SECRETARY OF THE  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND IMMIGRATION, SECRETARY OF THE  DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS,

Defendants.


COMPLAINT

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA alleges:

1. The Attorney General files this complaint on behalf of the United States of America pursuant to the Civil Rights of  Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 1997, and 42 U.S.C. § 14141, to enjoin the named Defendants from depriving persons incarcerated in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ("CNMI") at the Saipan Prison Complex ("SPC"), the Saipan Detention Facility ("SDF"), the Kagman Youth Facility on Saipan ("KYF"), the Saipan Immigration Detention Facility ("SIDF"), the Tinian Detention Facility ("TDF"), and the Rota Detention Facility ("RDF"), of rights, privileges, or immunities secured and protected by the Constitution of the United States.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, and 48 U.S.C. § 1822(a).

3. The United States is authorized to initiate this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997a, and 42 U.S.C. § 14141(b), applicable to the CNMI through Section 105 of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America (1978).

4. The Attorney General has certified that all pre-filing requirements specified in 42 U.S.C. § 1997b have been met. The Certificate of the Attorney General is appended to this Complaint and is incorporated herein.

5. Venue is proper in the District of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

DEFENDANTS

6. Defendant CNMI owns and operates SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF.

7. The Governor of the CNMI is sued in his official capacity as the CNMI official ultimately responsible for the operations of SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF.

8. The Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety is sued in his official capacity as the official in charge of supervising the operations of SPC, SDF, RDF, and TDF.

9. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration is sued in his official capacity as the official supervising the operations of SIDF.

10. The Secretary of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs is sued in her official capacity as the official supervising the operations of KYF.

11. Defendants are legally responsible, in whole or in part, for the operation of SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF, and for the conditions in these facilities and the health and safety of persons confined, detained, or incarcerated in them.

12. At all relevant times, the Defendants or their predecessors in office have acted or failed to act, as alleged herein, under color of state law.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

13. SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF are institutions within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1997(1).

14. Persons confined in SPC include adult pre-trial detainees and adult post-conviction prisoners.

15. Persons confined in SDF are adult pre-trial detainees.

16. Persons confined in KYF are juvenile pre-trial detainees, adjudicated status offenders, and juvenile post-conviction inmates.

17. Persons confined in SIDF include adult and juvenile CNMI Department of Immigration detainees.

18. Persons confined in RDF include adult and juvenile pre-trial detainees and adult and juvenile post-conviction prisoners.

19. Persons confined in TDF include adult and juvenile pre-trial detainees and adult and juvenile post-conviction prisoners.

20. The CNMI officers staffing SPC, SDF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF are law enforcement officers. The CNMI staff at KYDF are responsible for the administration of juvenile justice and the incarceration of juveniles.

21. Defendants have engaged in, and continue to engage in, a pattern or practice of failing to protect inmates at SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF from undue risk of harm by, inter alia, failing to provide adequate supervision, failing to provide adequate security, failing to provide adequate inmate classification, failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care, and failing to ensure adequate environmental health, sanitation, and fire safety.

22. Defendants have been aware of the factual allegations set forth in paragraph 21 for a substantial period of time and have failed to address adequately the conditions described although they consciously knew of those inadequacies.

VIOLATIONS ALLEGED

23. The acts and omissions alleged in paragraphs 21 and 22 violate the rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution of the United States of persons confined in SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF.

24. Unless restrained by this Court, Defendants will continue to engage in the conduct and practices set forth in paragraphs 21 and 22 that deprive persons confined in SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF of their rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution of the United States and cause them irreparable harm.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

25. The Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 14141(b) to seek equitable and declaratory relief.
 

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants, their officers, agents, employees, subordinates, successors in office, and all those acting in concert or participation with them from continuing the acts, omissions, and practices set forth in paragraph 21 above, and that this Court require Defendants to take such actions as will ensure constitutional conditions of confinement are afforded to inmates at SPC, SDF, KYF, SIDF, RDF, and TDF.

The United States further prays that this Court grant such other and further equitable relief as it may deem just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

___________________________
JANET RENO
Attorney General of the
United States
 

______________________
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

___________________________
FREDERICK A. BLACK
United States Attorney
 

______________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
Special Litigation Section

___________________________
GREGORY BAKA 
Assistant United States
Attorney
District of the Northern
Mariana Islands
 
 

__________________________
MELLIE H. NELSON
Deputy Chief
Special Litigation Section
 
 

___________________________
ROBERT J. MOOSSY, JR.
Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
P.O. Box 66400
Washington, D.C. 20035-6400

General Information Special Litigation Section
 
Leadership
Jonathan M. Smith
Chief
Contact
Special Litigation Section
(202) 514-6255
toll-free at (877) 218-5228

FAX - (202) 514-0212
Alt. FAX - (202) 514-6273
Email - Special.Litigation@usdoj.gov
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