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ACLU Lawsuit: Immigrants Say They Were Held Illegally in L.A. County Jails

British filmmaker Duncan Roy says he spent nearly three months in L.A. County jails without a chance to post bail.

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to file a federal lawsuit Friday against Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on behalf of foreigners who say they were held illegally and denied bail even for minor offenses after being flagged by immigration authorities.

British filmmaker Duncan Roy, who says he spent nearly three months in L.A. County jails without a chance to post bail, is one of the five plaintiffs in the lawsuit being filed in U.S. District Court, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Roy was arrested Nov. 15 in Malibu on an extortion charge. He was in the country legally but was identified as a suspected illegal immigrant through a federal program called Secure Communities, which sends the fingerprints of all arrestees through an immigration database, The Times reported.

Sheriff's Department officials rejected Roy's repeated efforts to post $35,000 bail, citing a detention order by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the lawsuit alleges.

ACLU officials will be joined by colleagues from the National Day Laborers Organizing Network when the suit is announced Friday morning.

The ACLU and other plaintiffs' attorneys say the bail denials have been a blanket practice by the Sheriff's Department, affecting thousands of people subjected to ICE holds in local jails, according to The Times. The lawsuit notes the bail denials may have ceased in the last week.

A Baca spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit but, according to The Times, disputed the charge that the Sheriff's Department has denied bail to anyone because of ICE holds.

A report by prison expert James Austin cites data from Baca's office indicating that at least 20,000 Los Angeles County inmates, nearly all of them Latino males, were subjected to ICE holds in 2011, The Times reported.

Robert October 19, 2012 at 07:39 PM
In this country legally, but arrested for extortion. held for three months, sounds about right to me. after an illegal is arrested for a crime, no matter how minor, he should expect to be held for ICE. DON'T come here if illegal and if here don't commit a crime. with the help of the aclu and lapd chief beck, we citizens are losing the battle.
Glendora_Guy October 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
In America, we are all innocent until proven guilty. According to the article, he was here legally, so ICE should not have been holding him, he should have been allowed to post bail. Now, once convicted (if he was, article doesn't say), that's a different story, he should be deported right away. If this were a story about an illegal immigrant being denied bail, then I'm all for it.
John October 24, 2012 at 07:51 AM
According to the article, it sounds like this is an ICE issue and not an LASD issue. They are only doing what the Feds told them to do, it is an ICE HOLD not and ICE release. Just my 2 cents: I am of the opinion that once arrested for a crime we shouldn't waste our legal system's time and effort to have a trial for foreigners, legal or illegal. As soon as these goons are released they go back to their home country and never pay a fine, restitution, or serve any jail time. I say deport them and make it so they cannot return for a specific period of time. Like a business refusing service to a particular person. Of course in the case of violent crimes I think they would be worth litigating.

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