Murray v. County of Santa Barbara

Comprehensive Settlement Reached in Santa Barbara County Jail Class Action Lawsuit

Murray v. County of Santa Barbara

On behalf of the hundreds of people incarcerated in Santa Barbara County Jail, Disability Rights California, Prison Law Office, and King & Spalding LLP have reached a groundbreaking settlement with Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office in a class action lawsuit that seeks to address the dangerous and unconstitutional conditions at the jail. 


Remedial Plan Implementation Expert Reports

Santa Barbara County Status Reports on Implementation

Press Release

Court Documents

Settlement Agreement 07/17/20 (pdf)
Joint Notice of Settlement 07/17/20 (pdf)


Case Name: 
Murray et al. v. County of Santa Barbara et al.

King & Spalding (pro bono counsel)
Prison Law Office
Law Office of Aaron J. Fischer

Class Counsel Letter on Urgent Need to Protect Class Members at High-Risk of COVID-19 Illness - 6/19/20

Letter to Santa Barbara County Counsel and County Leaders (pdf)

Class Counsel Letter Santa Barbara Courts, District Attorney, and Sheriff re: Reducing Jail Population to Protect People from COVID-19 Pandemic – 4/1/20

Class Counsel Letter - Jail Population (pdf)

Class Counsel Letter to County re: Urgent Need for Action at Jail in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic - 03/18/20

Class Counsel Letter to County (pdf)
Class Counsel Letter to County (rtf)

Significant Court Documents

Order Granting Class Certification - 5/31/18 (pdf)
Complaint -12/6/17 (pdf)
Class Notice (pdf)

Santa Barbara County Expert Consultant Reports on Jail Conditions

Assessment of Environmental Health and Safety Operations, Santa Barbara County Jail, Harry E. Grenawitzke, MPH, DAAS (pdf)
Review of Santa Barbara County Jail Medical Services - Scott A. Allen M.D. (pdf)
Review of Mental Health Services Currently Provided by the Santa Barbara County Jail System - Roberta Stellman, M.D., DABPN (pdf)
Assessment of Custody Operations-Santa Barbara County Jail System - Margo L. Frasier, J.D., C.P.O. (pdf)
ADA-Disability Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan – Vanir Construction Management, Inc. (pdf)


Clay Murray is a 67 year old U.S. Army veteran with significant disabilities and medical conditions, including degenerative joint disease. He uses a wheelchair to get around. Mr. Murray has post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental health needs. While in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail, Mr. Murray has requested but received no meaningful treatment to help him manage his PTSD symptoms. Mr. Because he uses a wheelchair and is housed in the jail’s designated unit for prisoners with chronic medical conditions, he is not permitted to participate in work and self-improvement programs at the jail. He has also faced severe risks due to the lack of medical care. In one instance, he was denied his inhaler despite a significant respiratory condition. He went without treatment for an extended period, until another prisoner summoned medical help after finding Mr. Murray struggling to breathe on the ground below his bunk.

David Franco is 25 years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When he arrived he arrived at the Santa Barbara County Jail, Mr. Franco was denied prescribed psychiatric medications that he had been taken prior to his arrest for several days. His condition worsened, with staff documenting his reports that “I haven’t slept for like 4 days … I feel like my heart is going to explode … I need something for this anxiety – it’s making me crazy.” A few days later, Mr. Franco attempted suicide by cutting his wrist.

Shareen Winkle is 31 years old and has been diagnosed with mental illness, including bipolar disorder. The Santa Barbara County Jail has repeatedly placed Ms. Winkle in solitary confinement for long periods based on such infractions as not being prepared to exchange her bedsheets on laundry day and not wearing her shirt properly. Ms. Winkle’s mental health has deteriorated significantly during her extended stays in solitary confinement, where she has suffered multiple panic attacks.

Maria Tracy is 29 years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a serious ophthalmological medical condition. During her booking at Santa Barbara County Jail, Ms. Tracy reported she had been to the hospital for an eye infection one week earlier and was receiving prescription eye drops. When the jail failed to continue the treatment, she submitted several requests for health care noting that the infection was getting worse, that the entire right side of her face was numb, and that she could not see out of her right eye. She ultimately needed to be readmitted to the hospital for four more days. Ms. Tracy fears that her eyes have suffered permanent damage based on the long break in treatment at the jail.

Eric Brown is 38 years old and has been diagnosed with chronic lower back pain, anxiety, and depression. Mr. Brown also uses a wheelchair to get around. Mr. Brown has been housed in inaccessible housing units at Santa Barbara County Jail. He has struggled to use the toilet, shower without pain, and get on and off the bus to go to court. Because the Santa Barbara County Jail is filled with barriers for people with mobility disabilities, Mr. Brown has been forced to hobble on his own through doors too narrow to fit his wheelchair.

News Release

News Coverage