Colorado Supreme Court denies appeal to ACLU lawsuit

Posted at 11:00 AM, Apr 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-13 13:00:12-04

The Colorado Supreme Court has denied a petition by El Paso County Commissioners to appeal the ACLU case against El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder. The court denied the petition on Thursday.

This means the order issued by an El Paso County judge prohibiting Elder from holding any detainee on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Enforcement indefinitely without a warrant. The ACLU sued Elder in February claiming he his holding ICE detainees in jail after they have served their sentences or posted bond.

The plaintiffs in the case, Saul Cisneros and Rut Chavez had been held in jail since November despite attempts by family members to pay their bail. In a statement, El Paso County said they have filed more motions on behalf of Sheriff Elder, but were not specific on what those motions entail. 

The preliminary injunction disallowing Sheriff Elder from holding ICE detainees will remain in place while the case proceeds.

"This constitutional legal issue has not yet been addressed by the Colorado Supreme Court, or the Federal 10th Circuit. The United States Supreme Court has not heard this issue.  A variety of judicial decisions from other states and federal circuits currently exist, and the different, and frankly contrary, decisions reflect rulings regarding both sides of the issue.  The County looks forward to establishing definitive law for the state of Colorado in this matter and favors the understanding and interpretation of the 5th Circuit decision issued on March 13, 2018 in City of El Cenizo V. Texas 2018 WL 1282035," commented Lisa Kirkman, Senior Assistant County Attorney. "The Rule 21 denial is simply one step in the process, and is not a definitive appellate ruling.  There is a long way to go in this battle. Legal detention of illegal immigrants is vital in the protection of the United States’ borders, and keeping our community safe."

The Sheriff’s office has said since the court injunction they will notify ICE at the time of a pending release, enabling ICE agents to respond to the jail and detain the individual in the lobby of the criminal justice center.

Read previous coverage here.

El Paso County files appeal to ACLU lawsuit

ICE strongly disagrees with judge’s order blocking immigration holds

Sheriff Elder will appeal ruling on immigrant inmates

Judge rules El Paso County Sheriff must stop illegally holding prisoners for ICE