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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bail Rule for AZ Aliens Gets En Banc Treatment

(CN) - A challenge to an Arizona law that denies bail to some illegal immigrants will be reheard before an 11-judge panel of appellate judges, the 9th Circuit said Thursday.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski announced in a brief order that a majority of the circuit's active judges had voted to convene en banc rehearing concerning the voter-approved law known as Proposition 100, which prohibits bail for all suspected illegal immigrants charged with certain serious felonies.

Angel Lopez-Valenzuela and Isaac Castro-Armenta challenged the law in 2007 with a proposed class action against Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others.

Lopez-Valenzuela said he was denied bail for a drug-smuggling charge, and Castro-Arementa for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and assisting a criminal syndicate. Represented by the ACLU, both men claimed that the law violated their due-process rights set down in the Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendments.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled for the defendants in Phoenix, and a divided three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit affirmed in June 2013. The panel found that the law had been properly motivated by public safety concerns, despite being pushed by then-Rep. Russell Pearce, who would later be the driving force behind the state's controversial S.B. 1070.

Writing in dissent to the panel ruling, Judge Raymond Fisher had argued that "Rep. Pearce promoted the bill on the ground that 'all illegal aliens in this country ought to be detained, debriefed and deported.'"

Voters recalled Peace from office in 2011.

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