Argued: December 10, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Tennessee at Columbia. No. 1:18-cv-00033-William Lynn
Campbell, Jr., District Judge.
Cassandra M. Crane, FARRAR & BATES, LLP, Nashville,
Tennessee, for Appellants.
Elizabeth Rossi, CIVIL RIGHTS CORPS, Washington, D.C., for
Cassandra M. Crane, Robyn Beale Williams, FARRAR & BATES,
LLP, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellants.
Elizabeth Rossi, Eric Halperin, CIVIL RIGHTS CORPS,
Washington, D.C., Matthew J. Piers, Chirag G. Badlani, Kate
E. Schwartz, HUGHES SOCOL PIERS RESNICK & DYM, LTD.,
Chicago, Illinois, David W. Garrison, Scott P. Tift, BARRETT
JOHNSTON MARTIN & GARRISON, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee,
Before: SUTTON, NALBANDIAN, and READLER, Circuit Judges.
SUTTON, Circuit Judge.
criminal defendants believe that the way Tennessee sets the
amount of bail for misdemeanor crimes violates federal due
process. Under Tennessee law, a county sheriff enforces
probation-violation warrants and the bail amounts are
established by state law and set by a local judge. The
district court granted the probationers a preliminary
injunction against the county's and sheriff's
enforcement of the bail requirements. The county and sheriff
do not challenge the preliminary constitutional ruling. They
argue for now only that the probationers should have sued the
state judges who determine the bail amounts instead of suing
the county and sheriff who enforce them. We affirm.
in southern Tennessee and centered in Pulaski, Giles County
contracted with private probation companies to supervise
people it convicted of misdemeanors. A group of probationers
sued Giles County, Sheriff Kyle Helton, the probation
companies, and some of the companies' employees. They
alleged problems with the misdemeanor probation system
ranging from RICO violations and civil conspiracy to improper
debt collection and constitutional violations stemming from
private probation supervision.
one claim matters today. The probationers say that the county
and sheriff violated their "substantive right against
wealth-based detention" by detaining them after arrest
until they pay bail. R. 41 at 117. The problem, say the
probationers, is that the judges set the bail amount
"without reference to the person's ability to
pay," outside the person's presence, and without