U.S. v. Sanchez-Gomez

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: December 8, 2017
  • Case #: 17-312
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 859 F.3d 649 (9th Cir. 2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the court of appeals may consider an interlocutory challenge to the use of pretrial restraints if the individual claims are moot due to the cessation of the challenged action.

In October of 2013, the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Defender approved the Southern District of California (SDC) security policy that required a full restraint shackling system of defendants at most pre-trial non-jury proceedings, excluding appearances made before a district or magistrate judge. The finalized policy allowed a judge, per request, to make individual determinations of restraint removal. Respondents objected to the policy but were overruled by the magistrate judges. Respondents filed joint and individual emergency motion asking the district court to revoke the new security policy. After the filing of this case, SDC voluntarily ended its pretrial restraint policy. Although the end of this policy rendered the claims moot, the Ninth Circuit held that Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103 (1975), gave the court authority to rule on the matter still because the policy was capable of repetition and affected a class of persons not party to the mandamus petition. Thus, the Ninth Circuit held that the new security policy of pretrial restraints, adopted by SDC, was unconstitutional. Petitioner argues that the Ninth Circuit ignored the limitation of its supervisory mandamus authority, under Deck v. Missouri, 544 U.S. 622 (2005), and created a functional class action for writs of supervisory mandamus that created severe consequences for courts within the circuit. Petitioner asks the U. S. Supreme Court to vacate the decision of the lower court, because the case was moot upon the ending of the policy.

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