Tucson Criminal Defense Lawyers Report:  Federal Court Strikes Down Arizona’s Law Denying Bail to Immigrants

Tucson Criminal Defense Lawyers Report: Federal Court Strikes Down Arizona’s Law Denying Bail to ImmigrantsSitting en banc, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently struck down Proposition 100.  This Arizona state constitutional amendment barred all state judges from even considering setting bail for criminal defendants suspected of being undocumented immigrants.  The Ninth Circuit’s 9-2 en banc decision will supersede an earlier ruling issued by a three judge panel which upheld the Arizona law.  The controversial amendment had been in place since 2006 and was challenged by the ACLU in 2008.

What is Proposition 100?

Proposition 100 stripped away one of the core rights of a defendant—to have his or her bail set during an individual hearing in which the court examines the defendant’s likelihood of fleeing.  This law applied to most felony charges in Arizona, including even minor offenses like possession of a fake ID or shoplifting.  Some applicable offenses would only result in a probation sentence if the defendant were convicted.  Due to Proposition 100, countless Arizona immigrants have been placed in jail even though they pose no known flight risk or danger to others because their immigration documents were not clear.  These jailed defendants have cost the state significant sums and caused many families to suffer.  Even further, after the passage of Proposition 100, many defendants who were already out on bail found themselves in jail when they next appeared in court.

In its challenge, the ACLU urged that Proposition 100 violated the Due Process Clause because it was excessive and motivated by an illicit intent to punish potentially illegal immigrants using pretrial detention.  The U.S. Constitution provides that pretrial detention cannot be used for punishment purposes; rather, it is used solely to secure an individual’s presence at trial.

The Ninth Circuit’s majority opinion found that Proposition 100 was unconstitutional in that it was not narrowly tailored and essentially cast a wide net in an attempt to address flight risk.  The ruling will benefit all individuals in Arizona who were subject to Proposition 100’s no-bail rule.

Proposition 100 is just the latest in a line of anti-immigrant Arizona laws to be struck down by the federal courts.  Arizona made headline news the past few years with its passage of several laws designed to combat what the state sees as an ongoing issue with illegal immigration.  Few of these laws have been upheld, as more and more federal courts find them unconstitutional.  Defendants across the state will be relieved to know that they are once again assured the right to an individual bail assessment if arrested for a crime.  Contact the 24 hour criminal defense attorneys at Ariano Associates.

Ariano & Associates, PLLC:  Aggressive Tucson Criminal Defense Attorneys

The Tucson Criminal Defense Attorneys at Ariano & Associates, PLLC fully support the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling and will proudly ensure each of our clients receives a fair and complete bail hearing in which we will urge for the bail amount to be set in accordance with flight risk.  If you have been charged with any misdemeanor or felony crime in Arizona, the experienced, dedicated, and zealous defense attorneys at Ariano & Associates, PLLC can help.  Our top rated attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist in your defense.  As soon as you call our office, you will be connected to a skilled criminal defense attorney who will begin to mount your effective defense right from the start.  Our reputation for legal excellence has earned us an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with numerous positive online reviews.