There is no uniformity amongst the circuits when it comes to pretrial detainees claims for inadequate medical care. The circuits are currently grappling with this problem, applying two separate tests to pretrial detainees’ 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims depending on the jurisdiction in which the incident arose. The test that should be applied across all circuits is one of objective reasonableness. However, some circuits do not see it that way, applying the deliberate indifference standard, also known as the subjective standard test. The circuits applying the subjective standard are relying on case law that does not properly analyze the rights of pretrial detainees. These circuits are under the impression that pretrial detainees have the same rights as convicted individuals, which is not the case, as pretrial detainees in fact have greater protections under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The subjective standard falls short of protecting pretrial detainees and deprives them of rights derived under the Fourteenth Amendment, as the subjective standard stems from the Eighth Amendment, which is inapplicable to pretrial detainees as these individuals have yet to be convicted. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to resolve this issue but declined to do so. The Supreme Court should resolve this issue by applying the objective test to pretrial detainees’ inadequate medical care claims brought under § 1983, which would not impede or diminish the rights of pretrial detainees that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Black, Benjamin R.
"Subjectively Speaking, the Applicable Standard for Deficient Medical Treatment of Pretrial Detainees Should Be One of Objective Reasonableness,"
Touro Law Review: Vol. 39:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/lawreview/vol39/iss1/9