Lawyers argue Allegheny County unlawfully jails probationers in federal suit

Pittsburgh City Paper, 04/19/23: “Tate Stanford, 23, has been held at the Allegheny County Jail since his September 2022 arrest for an alleged probation violation, even though a hearing officer and a judge thought it would be safe to release him.

The District Attorney’s office dropped all charges against him two weeks ago, but Stanford remains incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail due to a probation detainer issued by Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani.

During a federal court hearing on Tuesday, lawyers argued that judges’ use of probation detainers in Allegheny County violates Tate’s constitutional rights and those of others accused of breaking probation terms in “a scheme of arbitrary mandatory detention.”  They asked U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan to issue an injunction prohibiting the use of probation detainers in Allegheny County without procedural safeguards to protect due process rights. Probation detainers are judicial orders requiring pretrial incarceration until the issuing judge lifts the order.

Stanford is one of six plaintiffs in the federal class action lawsuit brought by public interest law firms the Abolitionist Law Center and Civil Rights Corps challenging what attorney Sumayya Saleh called Allegheny County’s “rampant use” of detainers.”

Read the full story here.