Criminal Justice Press Release

05.05.20

ACLU of Ohio Files New Habeas Petition in Federal Court, Seeking Release of 20 Additional ICE Detainees from Morrow County Jail

Gavel Laying On Side

COLUMBUS — Early this morning the ACLU of Ohio filed an amended complaint and new habeas petition in the federal court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of 20 ICE detainees in Morrow County Jail. As of May 1, staff at Morrow announced that at least 50 of the detainees had tested positive for COVID-19, and their conditions range from asymptomatic to unable to move.

“As public health experts forewarned, the Morrow County Jail has become an infected, dangerous place to be. There is no way to make this facility safe. Our clients can and should be moved out where they can safely isolate or quarantine, as required, and where they can access care,” noted ACLU of Ohio Staff Attorney Elizabeth Bonham.

“Each of our clients is confined in a hotbed of infection from which they cannot escape.  We are deeply concerned that we’re going to start seeing preventable deaths at Morrow Jail,” added Claire Chevrier, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Ohio. 

Every single new plaintiff is in a high-risk category that puts them at greater risk for severe illness and all have tested positive for COVID-19, or will imminently, as they are confined to pods with many other individuals who’ve tested positive and are at different stages of the virus. The ACLU of Ohio argues that release is the only viable remedy to ensure their safety during this pandemic.

The ACLU of Ohio has successfully released eight ICE detainees from legal filings in Butler, Geauga, Morrow, and Seneca Counties.

A copy of the complaint is available.