Preliminary Injunction in NAACP v. Cooper

Yesterday, Judge Vinston Rozier, Jr. issued a Preliminary Injunction to the State of North Carolina, regarding COVID in prisons. Here is the Order:  20 CVS 500110 Order on PI with COS.  The Judge explained: "Thousands of these individuals in Defendants' custody are elderly, have disabilities, or have underlying health conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19's threat of serious injury and death."  And "[i]t appears based on the record that Defendants have failed to provide the sufficient COVID-19 testing to accompany the crowded and communal social distancing protocols; Defendants are transferring incarcerated invidivuals between facilities without properly protecting those individuals, or preventing the spread of COVID-19, in contradiction to Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") guidelines; and Defendants are providing disparate levels of COVID-19 protection between different facilities."

The Court's injunction:

  • Barred transfers between prisons, without first testing a person for COVID-19, or 14 days of isolation.
  • Ordered that the defendants reopen the application process for releasing prisoners to a range of reentry programs.
  • Ordered new efforts to identify individuals who can be released, including those who have completed statutory minimum sentences. (And the Court noted that individuals may also seek relief through Motions for Appropriate Relief, MAR).
  • Ordered a new plan for COVID prevention in prisons.
  • A census, of the living and sleeping places at each prison, must be conducted, as well as masks available at each, what measures have been taken to protect individuals over 65, and people with listed underlying medical conditions.