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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.

Al Sanchez October 19, 2012 at 06:21 PM
THE ACLU IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE U.S.! NO ONE SHOULD LITIGATE ON THE SIDE OF ILLEGALS UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!!!!!! GET THEM OUT AND ACLU, FIND SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO DO LIKE HELPING OUT AMERICANS WITH OUR PROBLEMS HERE, WHICH WERE CAUSED A LOT OF THE ILLEGALS THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DEFEND!!! ENOUGH OF THIS MADNESS!! AL SANCHEZ
Eric October 19, 2012 at 08:37 PM
So with the last name Sanchez, you would be okay being jailed and denied bail due to suspicions of being in the US illegally? Did you not read the part of the article that stated Duncan Roy was in the country legally? Also, take it easy with the CAPS... if you're attempting to present a valid argument yelling from a soap box isn't the most effective method.
BILEY MARKS October 19, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Hear say; told that many are held for years, AWAITING IMMIGRATION ISSUES. THIS IS WHY MANY NO LONGER DRIVE IN THIS COUNTRY, FEAR.
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