19 Washburn L.J. 609 (1979-1980)
Constitutional Law: Standard of Review in Pretrial Detainees' Claims

handle is hein.journals/wasbur19 and id is 625 raw text is: Constitutional Law: Standard of Review in Pretrial
Detainees' Claims
To resolve an apparent conflict among the circuits' on the proper stan-
dard for judicial review in detainee cases, the Supreme Court in Bell v. Wolf-
ish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979), severely limits the constitutional challenges pretrial
detainees may bring regarding conditions of their detention. This case marks
a reversal of the trend of lower courts allowing broad relief in challenges of
this type. The Supreme Court focuses primarily on whether the conditions of
detainment amount to punishment thus denying due process2 and ,rejects a
compelling necessity test.3 [I1f a particular condition or restriction of pretrial
detention is reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective, it does
not, without more, amount to 'punishment.' ,4
Courts have traditionally adopted a broad hands-off' policy in matters
involving prison conditions.5 But recognition of prisoners' constitutional
rights has altered the traditional approach.6 Courts now acknowledge valid
constitutional claims of those incarcerated.7
Courts are involved not only in recognizing prisoners' rights, but also in
considering constitutional challenges involving pretrial detainees.8 Pretrial
detainees are those incarcerated because they have committed an unbailable
offense9 or cannot afford bail.'0 Federal district courts have held conditions
must be better for detainees than prisoners.
Suits challenging conditions of pretrial detainees have emphasized the
primary state interest in detention is to ensure defendant's presence at trial.12
The institution's security has also been labeled a legitimate state interest in
deciding which procedures violate constitutional rights. 13 However, legitimate
state interests cannot justify excessively stifling detainees fundamental per-
sonal liberties.14 Several courts have held the state must use the least restric-
1. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 524 (1979).
2. Id at 535-40.
3. Id at 532-35.
4. Id at 539.
5. E.g., Pope v. Daggett, 350 F.2d 296 (10th Cir. 1965), vacated as moot, 384 U.S. 33 (1966).
See generally Note, Beyond the Ken of the Courts.- A Critique of Judicial Refusal to Review the
Complaints of Convicts, 72 YALE L.J. 506 (1963).
6. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).
7. See, e.g., Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 405-06 (1974) (mail censorship violated
prisoners' first amendment rights).
8. Eg., Hamilton v. Love, 358 F. Supp. 338 (E.D. Ark. 1973).
9. There is no absolute right to bail. See, e.g., United States v. Gilbert, 425 F.2d 490, 491
(D.C. Cir. 1969). Cf. Kinney v. Lenon, 425 F.2d 209 (9th Cir. 1970) (detainee must be released
because he was the only one available to procure potential defense witnesses).
10. When a federal crime is involved the accused is provided a bail hearing to determine the
least restrictive way to ensure presence at trial. 18 U.S.C.  3146 (Supp. 1979).
11. E.g., Moore v. Janing, 427 F. Supp. 567, 571 (D. Neb. 1976).
12. E.g., Seale v. Manson, 326 F. Supp. 1375, 1379 (D. Conn. 1971). Seegeneraly Comment,
Pre-Trial Detention.- Constitutional Standards, 28 ARK. L. REV. 129, 131 (1974) (hereinafter cited
as Comment, Pre-Trial Detention].
13. E.g., Wilson v. Beame, 380 F. Supp. 1232, 1237 (E.D.N.Y. 1974). See generally PRISON-
ERS RIGHTS SOURCEBOOK 126-29 (Hermann & Haft eds. 1973).
14. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail v. Eisenstadt, 360 F. Supp. 676, 686 (D. Mass. 1973), aff'd,
494 F.2d 1196 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 977 (1974).

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