Robert Frazier v. Prince George's County, Maryland, No. 23-6359 (4th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, former pretrial detainees in Prince George’s County, Maryland, appealed from the district court’s denial of their motion for a preliminary injunction. The detainees sought an injunction that would require the County to release them, and others similarly situated, on the ground that the County’s pretrial-release program violates the Due Process Clause. The district court denied the motion without stating its factual findings and legal conclusions.
The Fourth Circuit vacated. The court explained that the detainees’ motion for a preliminary injunction presented the district court with a disputed factual record and a difficult, fact-bound constitutional question. Thus, the district court had to explain the factual findings and legal conclusions that supported its determination that the preliminary injunction should be denied. Yet it only made generalized comments about the difficulty of deciding. So it violated Rule 52(a)(2). Further, the court wrote that it will disregard a Rule 52(a)(2) error and reach the merits of the district court’s preliminary-injunction order only if there is a record sufficient “to enable us to pass upon the questions involved.” However, there isn’t one here.