Monday, June 1, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees: Arizona Cannot Deny Bail to Undocumented Immigrants Charged with 'Serious Crimes'

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of Photospin

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to an appeals court ruling that said Arizona cannot deny bail to undocumented immigrants charged with "serious crimes," meaning class 4 felonies or worse. 

In April 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged a law, Proposition 100, in federal court, arguing it violated the U.S. Constitution by keeping a certain group of people from a fair legal process. It violated the right to due process and the belief that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Finally, in October 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law.

This is what Judge Raymond Fisher said at the time (from an ACLU summary):
"Proposition 100 categorically denies bail or other pretrial release and thus requires pretrial detention for every undocumented immigrant charged with any of a broad range of felonies, regardless of the seriousness of the offense or the individual circumstances of the arrestee, including the arrestee's strong ties to and deep roots in the community. The defendants maintain that this unusual, sweeping pretrial detention statute, directed solely at undocumented immigrants, comports with substantive due process. It does not. The Supreme Court has made clear that "[i]n our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception.”
The state wanted to challenge the 9th Circuit decision, but the High Court said no today.

"Arizona officials who tried to strip people of a bail hearing and the presumption of innocence have reached the end of the road. Laws that are driven by fear-mongering rather than facts are bad policy and violate everyone's civil liberties," said Cecilia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, in a statement.

Prop 100 was approved by voters in 2006, at a time when other anti-immigrant laws like SB 1070 made their rounds.

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