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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Jail Pregnancy Case|Stays in Federal Court

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A challenge to the Alameda County Sheriff's Department policy of requiring pregnancy tests for women booked into jail will remain in Federal Court, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Maria-Elena James on Oct. 14 denied a motion to remand the case to Alameda County Court.

James ruled that because one of the plaintiffs, Nancy Mancias - who participates in political demonstrations and is sometimes arrested at them - is likely to be affected by the jail policy again in the future, the case can be heard in Federal Court.

The other two plaintiffs, Susan Harman and Jane Doe, argued in their motion to remand that it's not likely they will be arrested again, and that they were suing as taxpayers, which gives them standing in state, not federal, court.

But James found that once a court determines one plaintiff has standing, it doesn't have to decide the standing of others.

"Because Ms. Mancias was subjected to a mandatory pregnancy test due to an officially sanctioned written policy, and she is likely to be affected by it again, she has standing," James wrote in the 5-page order.

The women sued in Alameda County Court in June.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern removed the case to Federal Court in July on the basis of the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim to be free from unreasonable searches and seizure.

The plaintiffs said they brought their motion to remand to determine as soon as possible whether the Federal Court has the authority to hear the case, not because they had any objection to the court itself.

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