Special Litigation Section

Special Litigation Section

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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.

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Featured Items

Investigation of St. Louis County, MO Family Court (Juvenile Court)
On July 31, 2015, the Justice Department announced the results of its investigation of the Family Court (Juvenile Court) of St. Louis County, Missouri, finding that the Family Court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and that the court's administration of juvenile justice discriminates against Black children. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at Community.StLouis@usdoj.gov or by phone at 855-228-2151.

Findings Letter regarding West Virginia's Mental Health System for Children

Settlement Agreement Regarding the Cleveland Division of Police

Investigation of the Baltimore Police Department
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 Community.Baltimore@usdoj.gov or by phone at 1-844-401-3733.

Investigation of the Dallas County Truancy Court and Juvenile District Courts
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 Community.dallascounty@usdoj.gov or by phone at 1-855-258-1433.

Findings Report Regarding the Ferguson Police Department
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 on the Civil Rights of Students in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities
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.

Statement of Interest in Hurrell-Harring et al. v. State of New York

Order and Exhibit Regarding Seclusion in Ohio Juvenile Correctional Facilities
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.

Complaint regarding the Meridian (MS) Police Department, the Lauderdale County (MS) Juvenile Court, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services
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. In June of 2015, the Department filed a proposed joint settlement agreements with two of the original Defendants, the City of Meridian and the state of Mississippi. The Department welcomes feedback from the community. If you have comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at Community.Meridian@usdoj.gov.

Civil Rights Division Sends Letter to Alabama Law Enforcement Agencies About Alabama Immigration Law
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 Division’s 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 - Special.Litigation@usdoj.gov