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Federal court: Police immigration check on Maryland pedestrian with consular ID card was not unlawful profiling
Federal district Judge Benson Legg of Baltimore has dismissed “with prejudice” the immigration-related unlawful arrest and profiling case brought in 2009 against Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins and two deputy sheriffs by Roxanna Santos, an illegal alien represented by CASA de Maryland and Latino Justice/PRLDEF and assisted by several national corporate law firms.
The court order and memorandum issued on February 7, 2012 (download below) dismissed civil rights allegations for unlawful arrest, racial profiling based on Latina appearance, conspiracy to violate civil rights, and supervisory liability claims against the Sheriff, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Frederick County Commissioners.
The case arose out of an incident where two deputies approached a woman eating lunch outside behind the Evergreen Shopping Center in Frederick, Maryland in October 2008. When asked for ID, Santos produced a Salvadoran consular ID card. The deputies then ran a check, and found thank Santos was wanted on an outstanding ICE warrant for absconding from an immigration detention center in South Texas.
Santos was represented by CASA de Maryland, which vociferously publicized accusations that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Jenkins in particular were anti-immigrant and operated a scheme of selective enforcement against Hispanics. IRLI attorneys Garrett Roe and Michael Hethmon were co-counsel to the Sheriff and his deputies, with Daniel Karp of Baltimore as lead counsel.
Judge Legg wrote that the deputies did not seize or arrest Santos by approaching her and asking questions, and clarified that a person is not seized just because a police officer has possession of their ID card. The presentation of a Salvadoran ID card created reasonable suspicion to run an immigration warrant check. The court warned that adopting the CASA theory of profiling against minority groups would create an untenable burden on normal police operations, and noted that allegations of unlawful arrest must focus on the facts and not on the subjective intent of the officers. “Sending state and federal courts into the minds of police would produce a grave and fruitless mis-allocation of judicial resources.” The court found the idea that the deputies would have profiled “Hispanic-looking individuals to somehow curry favor with Sheriff Jenkins is no more than conjecture.”
Santos “offered no evidence, direct or circumstantial, statistical or otherwise, that points to discriminatory intent on the part of deputies Openshaw and Lynch.”
|Santos v Jenkins_Order & Memo Granting MSJ and Dismissing Cts V-VIII_2-7-2012.pdf||189.82 KB|