May 05, 2011

Faegre & Benson Helps ACLU Client Obtain Settlement in Wrongful Detention Case

Last week, the federal government agreed to pay $50,000 to ACLU client Luis Quezada as compensation for his unconstitutional detention in the Jefferson County Jail in Colorado. Faegre & Benson co-counseled with the ACLU of Colorado to represent Quezada in this case, with Dan Williams, a Colorado partner specializing in high-stakes civil litigation, along with associates Jeff Roberts and Kirk Neste, serving as an ACLU cooperating attorneys.

Arrested after failing to appear in court on a traffic violation matter, Quezada was sentenced to time served. He was not released because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had requested that he be held in the county jail pending the agency's determination whether to initiate deportation proceedings against him. He was held for 47 days, far in excess of the 48 hours permitted by law for an immigration hold.  As weeks passed with no further communication from the federal authorities, the Jefferson County Sheriff took no action to release Quezada or follow-up with ICE. Quezada's suit against the sheriff is continuing.

"This settlement goes a long way toward ensuring that, in the future, federal officials respect the rule of law when enforcing immigration policy," said Williams. "It sends a clear message that all persons in the United States—even those suspected of immigration violations—are entitled to basic Constitutional protections, such as being free from arbitrary arrest, being informed of the charges against them, and having the opportunity to petition for their release from custody." 

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