On December 21, 2012, a former prisoner filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Clackamas County jail. The plaintiff, represented by the Oregon Law Center, claimed violations of her 14th Amendment right to due process, her ...
read more >
On December 21, 2012, a former prisoner filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Clackamas County jail. The plaintiff, represented by the Oregon Law Center, claimed violations of her 14th Amendment right to due process, her Fourth Amendment right against unlawful seizure, and a state-law false imprisonment claim. She sought damages and attorney's fees. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that she was improperly detained based solely on a federal immigration detainer issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The plaintiff was originally arrested for violating a domestic violence restraining order, and booked into jail on March 12, 2012. By March 15, ICE had issued the detainer, which indicated that the agency was investigating whether the plaintiff was subject to removal from the United States. The form requested that the jail maintain custody of the plaintiff for not more than 48 hours after she would otherwise have been released to allow the Department of Homeland Security time to take custody of the her. On March 29, the plaintiff pleaded guilty to one of her charges and she should have been released that day. Instead, the jail held her for another 19 hours based solely on the detainer.
During her detention, the plaintiff had been told that, because of the detainer, she would remain detained regardless of bail being posted. The plaintiff claimed that the jail's denying her the opportunity to be released by posting bail solely due to the existence of the detainer deprived her of her due process rights. She claimed that the jail's continuing to hold her without any basis in state law after her criminal matter had been resolved, and solely on the basis of the detainer, counted as an unlawful seizure under the 4th Amendment. Finally, she claimed the imprisonment was without legal authority and in violation of Oregon law. Because the facts of the matter were undisputed, the County moved for summary judgment, and the plaintiff cross-moved for summary judgment as to her § 1983 claims.
On April 11, 2014, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart) issued an opinion and order granting summary judgment to the County with regard to the due process and false imprisonment claims, and granting summary judgment to the plaintiff with regard to her unlawful seizure claim. The court found that the County's continuation of the plaintiff's detention based on the ICE detainer constituted new, "prolonged warrantless, post-arrest, pre-arraignment custody." After the plaintiff's resolution of her state charges, and at any time prior had the plaintiff posted bail,the County no longer had probably cause to justify her detention. Her remaining in custody counted as a new, initial seizure without probable cause, which violated her 4th Amendment rights. The only issue left for trial is the amount of damages owed the plaintiff for the jail's violation of her 4th Amendment right.Andrew Junker - 09/25/2014