University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Robinson v. Board of County Commissioners, Otero County, New Mexico IM-NM-0001
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-01044-WJ-WPL ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
MALDEF
Case Summary
On October 17, 2007, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of five Latino families in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. ... read more >
On October 17, 2007, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of five Latino families in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. Plaintiffs alleged that the Sheriff's Department sanctioned an operation to locate, detain and arrest Latinos in an effort to apprehend undocumented immigrants.

As part of the operation, plaintiffs alleged that on September 10, 2007, sheriff's deputies raided homes of Latinos without search warrants and stopped, detained, and interrogated Latino motorists and Latinos walking on the street without probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Some Latinos that objected to the tactics were allegedly assaulted by deputies and issued bogus criminal charges in an attempt to cover the deputies' misconduct. Plaintiffs asserted violations of the Fourth Amendment, due process and equal protection as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and corresponding provisions of the state constitution. They sought monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent further immigration raids by the Sheriff's Department.

On April 3, 2008, the parties entered into a settlement, which the court adopted on May 27, 2008, dismissing the case. Under the terms of the settlement, the Otero County Sheriff's Department agreed to a settlement of $100,000 and changes to its operational procedures. Under the agreement, deputies agreed not to inquire about a person's immigration status in minor cases and not to hold a person who is not under arrest for federal immigration officers. The department also agreed to accept the matricula consular (consulate-issued identification card) as a valid ID.

Kristen Sagar - 06/08/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Search policies
Immigration
Constitutional rights
ICE/DHS/INS raid
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Otero County, New Mexico
Otero County,Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description Latinos whose rights were violated when deputies raided their homes without warrants or consent and seized and interrogated them without probable cause
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
MALDEF
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2008 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:07-cv-01044-WJ-WPL (D.N.M.) 05/27/2008
IM-NM-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 10/17/2007
IM-NM-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Families Sue Otero County Sheriffs Over Illegal Immigration Raids -- Civil rights groups say sheriffs 'broke trust' with community 10/17/2007
IM-NM-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Joint Motion to Approve Resolution and thereafter to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with Prejudice 04/14/2008
IM-NM-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lynch, William P. (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
IM-NM-0001-9000
Smith, Leslie C. (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
IM-NM-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bach, George (New Mexico)
IM-NM-0001-0001 | IM-NM-0001-0003 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Graybill, Lisa Shawn (Texas)
IM-NM-0001-0001 | IM-NM-0001-0003 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Perales, Nina (Texas)
IM-NM-0001-0001 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Perez, Marisol Linda (Texas)
IM-NM-0001-0001 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Urias, David Herrera (Texas)
IM-NM-0001-0001 | IM-NM-0001-0003 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Youngers, Joleen K (New Mexico)
IM-NM-0001-0003 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Slease, William D. (New Mexico)
IM-NM-0001-0003 | IM-NM-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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