Federal judge dismisses police officer suit against Arizona immigration law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Tuesday granted a motion to dismiss [order, PDF] a police officer's suit [JURIST report] challenging Arizona's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials, JURIST news archive]. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] filed a motion to dismiss the challenge made by Tucson police officer Martin Escobar arguing that the new immigration law would force him to violate Latinos' civil rights and subject him to legal action. Judge Susan Bolton accepted Brewer's argument that Escobar lacks standing to bring the suit and that he did not sufficiently show that, under the law, he would suffer direct and immediate harm entitling him to relief. Bolton noted that, while agencies and governments would be liable for not enforcing the law, it "does not appear to impose liability on individual law enforcement officers." Escobar v. Brewer is the second SB 1070-related lawsuit to be dismissed. Last week, Bolton dismissed a lawsuit [Arizona Capitol Times report] filed by Roberto Frisancho, challenging that the law would prohibit him from traveling to Arizona to conduct research on illegal immigrants.

Also last week, Brewer filed the state's opening brief [JURIST report] in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], asking the court to lift the preliminary injunction blocking Arizona's immigration law from taking full effect. In the brief, Arizona argued that the preliminary injunction should be vacated because Bolton applied the wrong legal standard in issuing the preliminary injunction. Last month, the Ninth Circuit denied Arizona's request for expedited appeal [JURIST reports]. The preliminary injunction [JURIST report] came at the request of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], which filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the law [JURIST report] in July. Bolton issued the injunction against provisions of the law requiring the verification of the immigration status of people reasonably suspected of being illegal immigrants, authorizing the warrantless arrest of those police have probable cause to believe have committed an offense that could lead to deportation and requiring noncitizens to carry their registration papers with them at all times. The law has been widely criticized as unconstitutional for allegedly legalizing racial profiling. The American Bar Association (ABA) [official website] filed an amicus curiae brief [JURIST report] in support of the DOJ lawsuit, following the submission of another amicus curiae brief [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website].

 

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