The complaint cites several cases of victims not coming to court in fear of getting arrested for being in the U.S. illegally
Yesterday at 10:51 AM
BOSTON — Prosecutors in Massachusetts sued
Monday to block federal authorities from making arrests at courthouses
of people suspected of being in the country illegally, arguing the
practice is making it harder for them to hold defendants accountable and
get justice for victims.
The top prosecutors for Suffolk County,
which includes Boston, and Middlesex County say in the lawsuit joined by
public defenders and others that some cases are grinding to a halt
because witnesses, victims or defendants are too afraid to come to
courts staked out by immigration agents.
"When we cannot hold anyone accountable for their actions — let me be
clear — that is not justice and not one person in this commonwealth is
safer because of that practice," Middlesex County District Attorney
Marian Ryan told reporters.
The federal lawsuit, believed to be
the first of its kind in the country, is the latest fight between state
and federal authorities over President Donald Trump's stepped-up
It comes days after federal prosecutors in Massachusetts charged a state court judge and
former court officer with obstruction of justice for allegedly helping a
man sneak out a back door of the courthouse to evade a waiting
Trump administration has said it's only going to halls of justice for
certain targets, like public safety threats, and that courthouses are
among the safest places to arrest immigrants because visitors typically
have to go through metal detectors.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman declined to comment Monday.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson slammed prosecutors for bringing
the case, saying they should be "working with law enforcement instead of
partnering with criminal illegal immigrants."
The lawsuit seeks
to bar federal authorities from arresting people for civil immigration
violations while they're coming to, leaving or are inside a courthouse.
The lawsuit does not aim to block immigration agents from arresting
people who are brought in court while in state custody on a criminal
Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal of Lawyers for Civil Rights, one of
the groups bringing the case, said it's the first federal lawsuit
challenging ICE's practice of courthouse arrests.
"This case creates a blueprint for advocates across the country who want to protect immigrants," the executive director said.
Among other things, the federal lawsuit argues that the practice violates the constitutional right to access the courts.
am not asking nor am I intending to interfere with the federal
government when they engage in and exercise their lawful authority,"
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. "I simply ask
that they pay us the same respect and not interfere with ours."
said they don't have data on how many cases have been disrupted by ICE
arrests, but say immigration arrests are reported at courthouses across
the state several times a week. Ryan said her office has seen two cases
that were interrupted because someone needed in court disappeared during
The complaint cites several cases of victims being too
afraid to come forward because of the courthouse arrests. For example,
immigrants who were duped into investing in a shell company have refused
to bring a case against the fraudster to get their money back because
they fear they could be arrested and deported if they have to show up in
court, the lawsuit says.
"Our courts are places where
individuals, regardless of income or influence or status must be able to
seek justice, to exercise their constitutional rights, to seek safety
from physical harm or compensation for economic harm," said Wendy Wayne,
director of the immigration impact unit at Massachusetts' public
defender agency, the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
what kind of legal people are these that won't uphold the laws of this country???