According to a Federal court, illegal immigrants in the state of Arizona must be given the right to post bail after being arrested, striking down a previous voter-approved Arizona law whereby immigrants in the country illegally and those charged with a range of felonies to include aggravated identity theft, shoplifting, sexual assault, and murder could be denied bail.
The 11-member panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling today that this voter-approved law violates due process rights by imposing “punishment” before the offender had even gone to trial.
The court also stated that the law as it was is a poor attempt at confronting people who feel law enforcement and that no evidence existed to show the law dealt with a specific criminal offense.
Supporters of the 2006 statue believe it prevents people not authorized to be in the United States and who skip out on bail from committing additional crimes while critics believe the real intent of the law is to punish immigrants prior to being convicted.
This was just one of four immigration proposals approved by Arizona voters in 2006. The three others include making English the official state language, preventing immigrants not authorized to be in the country from receiving punitive damages stemmed from lawsuits, and prohibiting immigrants from receiving certain government benefits and services.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County has been shrouded by controversy. As part of the challenge to this law, one of Arpaio’s own aides was actually sued. The aide stated that the sheriff’s office will request the 9th Circuit Court to reconsider its new opinion and if that fails, a petition with the Supreme Court will be filed.
Cecillia Wang, Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who argued the case before the appeals court, stated that the ruling offers protection and ensures that everyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.
The no-bail law was proposed by former state Republican Russell Pearce, who won approval for the state’s landmark 2010 immigration enforcement law. Russell strongly believes that the appeals court overstepped its bounds of authority with this latest decision by overriding voters’ wishes.