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Turkmen v. Hasty

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
789 F.3d 218 (2015)


In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 (9/11), Ibrahim Turkmen and seven other non-resident males of Arab or Muslim descent (plaintiffs) were arrested and detained by law enforcement officials based on a hold-until-cleared policy, under which the plaintiffs could not be released from custody until the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affirmatively cleared the plaintiffs of terrorist ties. Even though the plaintiffs and nearly 800 other foreign nationals had no ties to the 9/11 attacks, they were held at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) and the Passaic County Jail (Passaic) for months, were in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day, were regularly strip-searched, and were routinely intimidated and punished based on their ethnicity and religion. The plaintiffs filed a class-action suit in federal district court against former MDC Warden Dennis Hasty and seven other city and federal Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, including the attorney general and FBI director (defendants), seeking damages resulting from the plaintiffs’ confinement in violation of the Due Process, Equal Protection, and Free Exercise Clauses, as well as the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The DOJ and MDC defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on qualified-immunity grounds. The district court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

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