Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Eugene Kim


In order to provide remedy for institutional violations of civil rights, Congress enacted 42 U.S.C. § 14141, which authorizes the U.S. Attorney General to seek injunctive relief from unconstitutional patterns and practices by law enforcement officers. Investigations and lawsuits thus far have resulted in consent decrees and agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice and local governmental authorities. This Note proposes that, in order to achieve the most effective and meaningful reform, courts look for guidance to procedures in complex litigation. In particular, the Note discusses potential benefits of employing special masters in § 14141 cases, provision of notice and opportunity for affected communities to be heard, as well as approval of, and release of jurisdiction over, consent decrees.