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Old 08-05-2011, 01:53 PM
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Default ACLU sues Utah jail over policy on immigrants

ACLU sues Utah jail over policy on immigrants
A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging that the Salt Lake County Metro Jail unlawfully held an undocumented immigrant for 39 days after he posted court-ordered bail.
The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit on behalf of Enrique Uroza, a 22-year-old who was arrested on forgery and theft charges and was believed by authorities to be in the country illegally.
Darcy Goddard, ACLU of Utah legal director, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder’s decision “effectively denies the right to bail for those inmates who are unable to prove to the satisfaction of jail officials that they are lawfully present in the United States.”
Uroza, who was booked June 13, had posted a $5,000 bond within 10 minutes on the criminal charges but jail officials began following procedures related to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer that was placed on him and refused to release him.
But 48 hours later, without ICE taking him into custody, the jail refused to honor the bond and release him. Uroza remained in jail until ICE took him into custody on July 22 and placed a $2,500 bond on him.
Winder said in late July while Uroza was still in custody, the department was following the requirements of SB81, a law passed by the Legislature in 2008 that requires the sheriff’s department to make “a reasonable effort” to determine the immigration status of detainees.
But Goddard said the reasonable effort to determine legal status does not include holding Uroza for “as long as they want” to make that determination.
“What they have apparently concluded is to verify immigration status is to be able to hold he person for longer than 48 hours if they can’t lawfully show within that time frame they are legally present in the United States,” Goddard said.
Winder said attorneys are reviewing the case and did not want to comment.
“In all honesty, I have not seen the complaint,” Winder said. “I was made aware of it, but until we get a chance to read it, we won’t comment on it.”
ACLU sues Salt Lake County sheriff, alleging student was 'illegally imprisoned'
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Weber State University student whose attorneys allege was unjustifiably and illegally imprisoned in the Salt Lake County Jail 39 days after he had posted court-ordered bail.
On Friday, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney B. Kent Morgan filed a complaint in federal district court alleging that Salt Lake County Sheriff James Winder and his officers held Enrique Uroza, 22, "without any legal authority."
“Sheriff Winder did so pursuant to an unconstitutional jail policy that effectively denies the right to bail for those inmates who are unable to prove to the satisfaction of jail officials that they are lawfully present in the United States," Darcy Goddard, ACLU of Utah legal director, said in press release. "Our fundamental constitutional values prohibit both the unlawful detention of individuals based on mere suspicion and the deprivation of personal liberty without due process of law.”
Uroza, a college sophomore with no prior criminal history other than one minor traffic ticket, appeared in state court in June 2011 to face forgery and theft charges. His bail was set bail at $5,000 and a judge remanded him to the county jail for processing. Uroza was booked into custody at 2:34 p.m. on June 13 and his bail bond was posted approximately 10 minutes later, according to the complaint. Despite the bail order, Winder and his officers refused to release Uroza.
On July 21, a court ruling ordered Uroza’s immediate release a second time but Winder refused to release him, according to the complaint
"Winder publicly cited as justification a long-since expired June 14 request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Mr. Uroza be held for 48 hours,” Uroza's attorneys said in a statement.
But that request expired on June 16, without ICE taking Uroza into custody or indicating a continued interest in him. When ICE took Uroza into custody on July 22, they quickly determined that he should be released on bail of only $2,500, according to an ACLU press release.
"I am bringing this case not just to vindicate my rights, but to protect the rights of everyone who has been or would otherwise be subjected to indefinite detention by the police," Uroza said in a prepared statement. "I think this case has the potential to help a lot of people.”
Although the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office had been provided a courtesy copy of the lawsuit, it had not been formally served early Friday afternoon. "We are just in the process of reviewing the information. We don't have any comment at this time," said District Attorney Sim Gill.
Morgan said Winder had "apparently taken the position that it is 'reasonable' to hold inmates for prolonged and indefinite periods of time, regardless of whether ICE asked them to, whenever he or his officers suspect that someone might be in the country unlawfully.
“We look forward to demonstrating in court exactly how unreasonable that is.”
The lawsuit claims that Uroza was deprived of his liberty in violation of the state and U.S. Constitution. "Defendants' expired 'Hold Request' policy was the direct and proximate cause of Mr. Uroza's injuries and the violations of his constitutional rights."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, attorneys' fees and costs.
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