troy causey jr. federal lawsuit against disd and dallas county juvenile department

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Tammy Simpson, the mother of slain Dallas basketball standout Troy Causey Jr., has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Dallas ISD and the Dallas County juvenile department alleging improper athletic recruiting led to her son's death one year ago, March 24, 2014.

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    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

    DALLAS DIVISION

    THE ESTATE OF TROY CAUSEY, JR, BY AND THROUGH HIS MOTHER, TAMMY SIMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF HIS HEIRS

    Plaintiffs, v.

    MIKE MILES, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DALLAS COUNTY JUVENILE DEPARTMENT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER FOR DALLAS COUNTY;

    Defendants.

    Civil Action No.

    3:15-cv-914 Jury Trial Requested

    COMPLAINT

    Plaintiff THE ESTATE OF TROY CAUSEY, JR, BY AND THROUGH

    HIS MOTHER, TAMMY SIMPSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF

    HIS HEIRS (herein Causey or Plaintiff), by and through undersigned counsel,

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 1 of 18 PageID 1

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    makes this his Complaint against Defendants, MIKE MILES, IN HIS OFFICIAL

    CAPACITY AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE DALLAS INDEPENDENT

    SCHOOL DISTRICT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DALLAS COUNTY JUVENILE

    DEPARTMENT; TERRY S. SMITH IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CHIEF

    JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER FOR DALLAS COUNTY and allege as

    follows:

    JURISDICTION AND VENUE

    1. This Court has jurisdiction over the federal claims of the Plaintiffs in this

    action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1343 because the subject matter of

    Plaintiffs claims are premised on violations of 42 USC 1983 and 1988.

    2. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 USC 1391(2) as all material

    facts out of which this suit arises occurred within the Northern District of

    Texas, Dallas Division.

    PARTIES

    3. Causey, when alive, was a citizen of the State of Texas and was at all

    pertinent times within the confines of the Dallas County Juvenile

    Department and a resident of Dallas County Youth Village and/or a student

    in the Dallas Independent School District.

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 2 of 18 PageID 2

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    4. His mother and natural heir is Tammy Simpson. She too is a citizen of the

    State of Texas and brings this Compliant individually and as heir and

    representative of the Estate of Troy Causey, Jr.

    5. Defendant Mike Miles is sued in his official capacity as Superintendent of

    the Dallas Independent School District (DISD or the District) which at

    all times was responsible for the implementation of relevant federal and state

    law, UIL rules, the care, management and control of all public school

    business within its jurisdiction as to students like Causey, the training of

    staff and coaches, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both

    train and supervise staff to prevent harm to students and illegal recruiting

    practices of student athletes.

    6. Defendant Terry S. Smith is sued in her official capacity as Executive

    Director of the Dallas County Juvenile Department which at all times was

    responsible to the implementation and enforcement of all public business

    within its jurisdiction as to juvenile residents of its facilities like Causey, the

    training of staff, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both

    train and supervise staff to prevent harm to residents and participants in the

    juvenile probation program and to prevent the illegal contact of residents for

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 3 of 18 PageID 3

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    any purposes including but not limited to sports recruiting from among its

    probationers by personnel of DISD.

    7. Defendant Terry S. Smith is sued in her official capacity as Chief Juvenile

    Probation Officer for Dallas County which at all times was responsible to

    the implementation and enforcement of all public business within its

    jurisdiction as to juvenile residents of its facilities like Causey, the training

    of staff, the enforcement of policies and procedures and to both train and

    supervise staff to prevent harm to residents and participants in the juvenile

    probation program and to prevent the illegal contact of residents for any

    purposes including but not limited to sports recruiting from among its

    probationers by personnel of DISD.

    HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND OF RECRUITMENT

    8. Many school districts throughout the United States have engaged in the

    practice or recruiting students from outside their territorial districts to play

    sports as varied as football, baseball, track, and many others, including but

    not limited to basketball.

    9. DISD for many years has likewise had a dismal record of engaging in the

    practice of recruitment of students from outside the confines of the DISD to

    play sports within DISD schools.

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 4 of 18 PageID 4

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    10. For the purpose of example only, South Oak Cliff High School in DISD

    forfeited its 2005 and 2006 basketball titles for having an ineligibly recruited

    player.

    11. For further example only, Kimball High School in DISD improperly

    recruited a star basketball player and with that player won the state

    championship in 2011.

    12. In 2012, a DISD investigation found a concerted attempt by coaches and

    administrators to recruit players from both within and without DISD without

    regard to the schools to which those students were properly zoned.

    13. The stakes for the DISD sports programs could not have been higher.

    Coaches and administrators are professionally scrutinized based upon their

    successes on the playing fields and the court. Students are treated as

    property good not for the content of their character, but for the success

    they can produce in athletic endeavors.

    14. Approvals for the transfer of students were made by a committee at DISD

    that votes for approval as a matter of course because to vote against a

    transfer would be a vote against ones peers and would be an act against

    ones own possible self-interest in future committee votes on eligibility.

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 5 of 18 PageID 5

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    This resulted in a policy and practice where anomalies and clear deviations

    on UIL and other rules and regulations were routinely disregarded.

    15. The Dallas County Juvenile Department and Dallas County (jointly, the

    Department) operate facilities for juveniles who are part of the juvenile

    justice system and monitor probation for youth participants in the juvenile

    justice system. As part of that, they operate the Dallas County Youth

    Village, a residential placement facility to which young men are sent by the

    juvenile courts in Dallas County for rehabilitation, instruction and training.

    The Department also undertakes to train all of its employees and officers,

    but has wholly failed to properly train and supervise them.

    16. The Department has written policies that state that participants have

    restricted access to the outside world. Youth mail is monitored, visits are

    restricted to counsel and family members and phone calls are similarly

    restricted. However, it has been the long-time practice, and therefore the

    actual policy of the Department, to allow DISD personnel to visit with

    otherwise incarcerated youth for the purpose of sports recruiting.

    FACTS REGARDING TROY CAUSEY, JR.

    17. In 2013, Causey entered the custody of the Department and was placed at

    the Dallas County Youth Village through April of 2013.

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    18. While there and in the custody of the Department, Causey was visited by

    staff members of the DISD, including the head coach of the DISD Wilmer-

    Hutchins basketball team, John Burley.

    19. Burley and DISD had unadulterated and unsupervised access to Causey

    within the Department and Causeys private juvenile records in the custody

    of the Department.

    20. Burley recruited Causey to play basketball in the DISD while he was in

    Department custody and obtained private and confidential juvenile records

    of Causey not publically accessible.

    21. Causey was not a resident within DISD, but was a resident of the Richardson

    School District and was zoned to Richardson High School.

    22. While within the confines of the Department, Burley and DISD set up a

    residence within DISD to which Causey would be released from the custody

    of the Department. Before his release from the Department, DISD caused

    Causey to be registered to attend Wilmer-Hutchins High School in DISD so

    he could play sports there despite his lack of residence.

    23. Upon information and belief, Jonathan Tramaine Turner, also was recruited

    by DISD staff members from the Department while in Department custody

    to play basketball for another DISD team Madison High School.

    Case 3:15-cv-00914-N Document 1 Filed 03/23/15 Page 7 of 18 PageID 7

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    24. Both Causey and Turner were placed in the same residence within DISD by

    DISD staff members so that they could play basketball at DISD schools.

    25. DISD and the Department were consciously indifferent to the risk and

    threats of placing unsupervised non-m