(CN) - The 9th Circuit tossed a class action accusing the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department of taking its "sweet time" to process release orders, detaining people up to 29 hours after courts authorized their release.
Former detainees said their prolonged detentions were the result of "deliberate indifference" to their constitutional rights by the department and Sheriff Leroy Baca.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson ruled for the defendants, saying Baca can't reasonably be expected to have hundreds, even thousands, of detainees discharged immediately after the court orders their release, given the amount of paperwork that needs to be completed between the order and the actual release.
Pregerson also pointed the sheriff has made substantial progress over recent years in decreasing the number of people detained after their release orders.
On appeal, the detainees insisted that the department has taken its "sweet time" in releasing them, and that this lackadaisical manner amounts to a policy of deliberate indifference.
The three-judge panel in Pasadena upheld Pregerson's finding that Baca can't be held responsible for the time it takes to process a detainee's release.
The circuit court also agreed that Baca has taken adequate steps toward resolving the problem.
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