University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Ramirez-Rangel v. Kitsap County (WA) PN-WA-0002
Docket / Court 12-2-09454-4 ( State Court )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Immigration
Policing
Case Summary
In January 2012, three Latino individuals filed suit in Washington state court against Kitsap County (WA) after an incident in which they had been confined by Kitsap County Sheriff's officers. The officers' actions, according to the complaint, resulted in the unlawful seizure, detention, and ... read more >
In January 2012, three Latino individuals filed suit in Washington state court against Kitsap County (WA) after an incident in which they had been confined by Kitsap County Sheriff's officers. The officers' actions, according to the complaint, resulted in the unlawful seizure, detention, and arrest of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs were represented by private counsel and the ACLU of Washington.

Two years before the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiffs were returning from a shift gathering oysters when they were pulled over for driving with a defective headlight. This initial seizure, they alleged, was a pretext for the officers to stop and investigate them; no citation was issued for the defective headlight. The individual driving the car produced both his driver's license and a valid commercial fishing permit for their oyster-gathering. Nevertheless, the defendants ran a background check on the individuals in the car, though Plaintiffs had no outstanding warrants. The defendants then proceeded to question the plaintiffs about their immigration statuses, at which point they contacted U.S. Customs and Border Control, detaining Plaintiffs in their vehicle, under threat of arrest, until a Border Patrol agent arrived about an hour later.

The plaintiffs claimed the Sheriff's Officers had violated Article I, Section 7 of the Washington Constitution, which states, "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law." The defendants' actions, Plaintiffs stated, thus constituted a warrantless seizure of the Plaintiffs. The plaintiffs additionally alleged they had been subjected to false arrest at the hands of the defendants. Accordingly, in addition to damages, the plaintiffs requested a declaration that Defendants may not (1) enforce federal immigration law or (2) prolong a detention to interrogate individuals about their immigration statuses.

Defendants moved for entry of final judgment, and Plaintiffs for summary judgment. The Court (Judge Kathryn J. Nelson) denied Defendants' motion and granted Plaintiffs', finding them entitled to declaratory judgment as a matter of law. As Plaintiffs had requested, the Court held the defendants lacked authority both to enforce federal immigration law and to prolong a detention for the sake of questioning individuals about their immigration statuses and concluded the defendants violated Plaintiffs' rights under the Washington Constitution.

David Postel - 04/08/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
General
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Racial profiling
Search policies
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Kitsap County
Plaintiff Description Three Latino individuals.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Complaint for Damages and Declaratory Relief 01/31/2012
PN-WA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Court’s Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Defendants’ Cr 56 Motion for Entry of Final Judgment 08/16/2013 (2013 WL 6361177)
PN-WA-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Nelson, Kathryn J. (State Trial Court)
PN-WA-0002-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Matthew (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Baker, La Rond (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Dunne, Sarah A. (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Jones, Karin D. (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Norton, Marlene R. (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Robinson, Skylee (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Talner, Nancy Lynn (Washington)
PN-WA-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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