For Immediate Release:
CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT CHALLENGES CULPEPER COUNTY SHERIFF’S YEARS OF VIOLATING IMMIGRANTS’ CIVIL RIGHTS
Culpeper, VIRGINIA, September 10, 2018 – A Virginia resident has filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit against Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins for his unlawful practice of holding immigrants in jail past their release dates. The lawsuit, brought by the Legal Aid Justice Center and Victor M. Glasberg and Associates, challenges the Sheriff’s policy of honoring “immigration detainers,” which are requests from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to hold individuals in local custody past the time they are ordered released by a state judge. Unlike criminal warrants, immigration detainers are not signed by a judge and do not authorize a local jail to continue to incarcerate an individual. Courts across the country have found that holding immigrants on ICE detainers violates their constitutional rights.
In 2015, Attorney General Mark Herring put Virginia sheriffs on notice that honoring immigration detainers was illegal when he issued an opinion aptly titled Legality of ICE Detainer Requests. Attorney General Herring’s opinion clearly stated, “[A]n adult inmate or a juvenile inmate with a fixed release date should be released from custody on that date notwithstanding the agency’s receipt of an ICE detainer.”
“I was pulled over and arrested for a minor traffic violation in Culpeper County, ” said Francisco Guardado Rios, the plantiff in this class action. “I never would have imagined that it would have led to me spending three months in jail.”
According to Sophia Gregg, staff attorney at Legal Aid Justice Center: “This case stems from our ongoing advocacy in Culpeper County and countless stories like Mr. Guardado Rios’ that we heard over the course of many months. All people, regardless of their perceived immigration status, have the right to be free from unlawful incarceration. For years Sheriff Jenkins has been acting outside of the law and today we begin the fight to hold him accountable.”
According to Vic Glasberg, veteran civil rights lawyer: “Keeping folks in jail without charges or a conviction is what happens in countries governed by tyrants. Actions like this must be resisted by those interested in living in a free society.”
The lawsuit, Rios v. Jenkins, was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Charlottesville Division. A copy of the complaint can be found at Culpepper Complaint.
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Legal Aid Justice Center is a statewide Virginia nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the voices of low-income communities and root out the inequities that keep people in poverty. We provide legal support to immigrant communities facing legal crises and use advocacy and impact litigation to fight back against ICE enforcement and detention abuses. Our ‘De-ICE Virginia’ campaign seeks to sever the ties between local law enforcement and ICE. More information can be found at http://www.justice4all.org/current-initiatives/de-ice-virginia/
Victor M. Glasberg has been practicing civil rights law in his Alexandria, VA law firm since 1982. Information about the firm may be found on its website www.robinhoodesq.com.