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Massachusetts court to ICE: We're not going to hold people not facing criminal charges for you

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a man who had a criminal charge dismissed should not have been then locked up to await federal officials who wanted him deported.

In its ruling, the court rejected federal arguments that local law enforcement should be at the beck and call of ICE, saying that such "detainer" requests are civil, not criminal issues, that Massachusetts law simply doesn't let police and the courts lock people up on civil infractions, and that the court will be damned if it gives the feds the right to order Massachusetts police and courts to lock somebody up on a civil matter.

The case involves a man arrested in Boston who had a criminal charge dismissed on Feb. 6 but who was not allowed to walk out of Boston Municipal Court - he was instead ordered held in a courthouse lockup to await ICE agents who wanted to deport him. ICE had asked Boston Police to hold Sreynuon Lunn for them when he'd been arrested last October on a charge of unarmed robbery - later reduced to a lesser charge of larceny.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office:

That defendant had been charged in the Boston Municipal Court on one count of larceny from a person for allegedly taking a quantity of cash from a homeless man during an Oct. 22, 2016, incident on Canal Street. Because the victim did not appear for the Jan. 17 trial date, the case was rescheduled. A new trial date of Feb. 6 was scheduled. The victim did not appear on that date, either, and without his testimony, prosecutors could not proceed to trial.

Once Lunn's case had been dismissed, he should have been released, the state's highest court said, adding that forcing him to sit in a locked cell for several hours constituted an illegal "arrest" because he was no longer being held to face a criminal charge.

Conspicuously absent from our common law is any authority (in the absence of a statute) for police officers to arrest generally for civil matters, let alone authority to arrest specifically for Federal civil immigration matters.

Written Massachusetts statutes don't help the federal case, either, the court wrote.

[N]o party or amicus has identified a single Massachusetts statute that authorizes a Massachusetts police officer or court officer, directly or indirectly, to arrest in the circumstances here, based on a Federal civil immigration detainer. Simply put, there is no such statute in Massachusetts.

Yes, the court continued, there are cases in which people can be detained without a criminal charge, but those involve people at risk of harming themselves or others, not people sought by ICE.

[T]he common law and the statutes of this Commonwealth are what establish and limit the power of Massachusetts officers to arrest. There is no history of "implicit" or "inherent" arrest authority having been recognized in Massachusetts that is greater than what is recognized by our common law and the enactments of our Legislature. Where neither our common law nor any of our statutes recognizes the power to arrest for Federal civil immigration offenses, we should be chary about reading our law's silence as a basis for affirmatively recognizing a new power to arrest -- without the protections afforded to other arrestees under Massachusetts law -- under the amorphous rubric of "implicit" or "inherent" authority. Recognizing a new common-law power to effect a Federal civil immigration arrest would also create an anomaly in our common law: a State or local police officer in Massachusetts (or, as in this case, a court officer) would be able to effect a warrantless arrest for a criminal misdemeanor only if it involves a breach of the peace ... but would be able to arrest for a Federal civil matter without any such limitation; in other words, the officer would have greater authority to arrest for a Federal civil matter than for a State criminal offense.

The prudent course is not for this court to create, and attempt to define, some new authority for court officers to arrest that heretofore has been unrecognized and undefined. The better course is for us to defer to the Legislature to establish and carefully define that authority if the Legislature wishes that to be the law of this Commonwealth.

The court also cited the Tenth Amendment, which is often cited in state's rights cases:

The United States, in its brief as amicus curiae, concedes that compliance by State authorities with immigration detainers is voluntary, not mandatory. The government's concession is well founded for at least two reasons. First, the act nowhere purports to authorize Federal authorities to require State or local officials to detain anyone. ... Second, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the Federal government from compelling States to employ their resources to administer and enforce Federal programs. ... In other words, even if the Federal government wanted to make State compliance with immigration detainers mandatory, the Tenth Amendment likely would prevent it from doing so. The Federal government has also made the same concession in litigation elsewhere, and in various policy statements and correspondence, that State compliance with its detainers is voluntary.

Amicus briefs in the case - Scroll down a bit for arguments by the federal government and others.

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Comments

ICE is hiring 10,000 new agents, many of whom will directly target "sanctuary cities."

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It doesn't in an authoritarian society,

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If ICE (and the Trump/GOP) wants to waste tax payer money going after people who are doing nothing wrong, they legally have that option. But local and state employees have far better things to do.

Imagine how many more serious crimes could be solved if the feds gave officer funding to Boston PD and community groups not waste it on ICE fear-mongering.

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The guy was in the country illegally. If the federal government wants to enforce federal immigration law, so be it. But lets not pretend that those who they are going after have done nothing wrong.

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People who are in this country illegally should be given the chances and the tools with which to be come legal citizens here in the United States, then.

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They choose to circumvent the process and those following it the minute the overstay or decide to sneak in.

What you're advocating for is an open boarder policy, if you make it here and do xyz you can stay.

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1964 immigration act was put in place to keep people out, not to give them a fair and reasonable path to citizenship.

Plus these are civil crime. The fed don't go after, nor ask local police, to go after late library books or people spitting on sidewalks.

It's a waste of resources when so many other serious issues need to be tackled. Like the increased gun violence in the city being caused by legal citizens partaking in government sanctioned black market drug dealing.

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Actually, they don't. Poor unskilled workers from Mexico & Central America have almost no path to enter the US legally without relatives who are citizens (and that wait can be very long).

So, desperate people are willing to come illegally since the legal paths are closed (and the demand for their services is often already in place here).

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Given that many (if not most) people here entered legally and overstayed their Visa, that would be a civil infraction (like a parking ticket), which is not a crime and not punishable by criminal penalties.

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Abused in such a widespread fashion, maybe it needs to be made criminal.

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After discussing in great detail why locking this guy up after his case was dismissed is illegal in Massachusetts, the court says the legislature could, if it wanted, pass a law making it legal. So if you really care about this, contact your state legislators.

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Since taxes are abused in a widespread fashion, maybe everyone who comes in contact with the police should be held until the IRS gives them a clean bill of health, ditto the Registry for unpaid fines; I would hate to see any lawbreakers turned back out onto the streets

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Abused in such a widespread fashion...

Link to your source please. note: Fox News won't work for people that are educated.

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The millions already here are a pretty good source for that.

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Here's one among others.

wESSj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323916304578404960101110032

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Somehow I don't think you'd be as keen to categorize speeding, illegal parking and such as criminal infractions. I mean those are 2 fine examples of laws that see widespread abuse.

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...if I'm correct, speeding over a certain speed over the posted speed (maybe 20 MPH over) can be classified as criminal.
This was done by the Legislature.
So if Juan or Sean or whomever was locked up for doing 108mph on 128, then if ICE calls, ICE gets him.

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If you entered the US legally, one of the requirements of admission is to leave on or before your period of admission is over. Failure to adhere to the requirement is grounds for expulsion. Therefore, ICE is doing their job by assisting those who overstay their visas to satisfy the requirements.

To paraphrase another post on this, if the IRS has evidence that I misstated my income or otherwise didn't pay taxes owed, should I just shrug my shoulder and tell them to pound sand since it's not like I violated the law or anything? Should the DOR be able to garnish my wages for child support even when they had nothing to do with my divorce proceedings? Perhaps the immigration laws of the land should be changed, but I don't see why enforcing them is somehow wrong.

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Sure, because they are doing their jobs. The IRS send out IRS agents (after court summons/etc). ICE can do the same thing. The BPD isn't going to hold me for being late on my taxes, just like they aren't going to hold someone that committed a civil infraction by overstaying a visa if they their court case is dismissed. ICE can keep free to, if they want, though.

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But if you go cheap on child support, obey the traffic laws, because you could end up in custody.

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over failure to pay child support than for actually endangering people on the road by violating traffic laws.

I'd like to see some smart lawyer challenge that before the SJC.

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After such and such a time can we fit the illegal alien with an ankle bracelet kinda like a boot on a car?

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I sure as hell see no point in my tax dollars going toward that - and its 20:1 odds that I pay a heck of a lot more in taxes than you do.

I'd rather my tax dollars pay for things like, oh, food and firetrucks and schools and infrastructure.

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...and Swirly's tax dollars (and everyone else's) go into the pockets of the contractors who issue the things -- GEO Group, CCA and the other prison-industrial complex types. Usually they issue them to women or others who need to care for children or do not seem to pose too much of a flight risk.

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LOL

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serious criminals on bail from re-offending and in keeping sex offenders off the T - not!

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Bracelets are good for keeping track of people while they are awaiting the next hearing. Cheaper than incarceration too.

The real thing is that if either Democrats or Republicans would follow through with reasonable immigration reform then many of these people would have legal status, and we could afford to focus on dangerous criminals that should be denied or lose any legal opportunity to be here.

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He seemed like a good candidate for a bracelet....

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The SJC decided that the feds tried to pursue a criminal detainer, but that the only avenue of relief is civil procedure, Being in the US illegally is NOT a criminal offense, but can be addressed in a civil procedure. The SJC opinion, BTW, is very clear & readable, & recommended.

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to skyrocketing levels of corruption and total lack of professionalism in these rapidly swelling, poorly trained, and ideologically motivated ranks of ICE and CBP as well.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-veteran-ice-agent-disillusione...

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Anyone know for how long the ICE detainer thing has been in practice here in Massachusetts? For how many years has the state been holding people illegally?

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Who are here illegally! Its not illegal to detain someone who is currently in the illegally.

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The Supreme Judicial Court is kind of a big deal when it comes to Massachusetts law.

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That's a good question. I don't know.

Think of all the decent people Trump is deporting needlessly. People married to Americans applying for their green card, an electrical contractor who lived n Boston, an Iranian cancer researcher who worked at Harvard, a man with two American girls who runs his own business and works night at MIT. And think of the people Trump wont let come, the Syrian kid who was admitted to MIT. I'm sure the list is much longer than the names that hit the newspaper. The theories that shaped this policy don't deliver public safety or economic growth as they claim, it's about it's nativism in a country with more people of color than Caucasians. Conservatives are freaked out and racist and acting like controlling who can come and who must go based on a broken policy will change anything. It will only weaken us.

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To say that this is rather sickening is a true-blue understatement. The fact that enough people fell for Donald Trump's wording about getting rid of immigrants is rather sickening. The people who espouse these attitudes, plus Donald Trump, are screwing themselves, on top of everybody else here in the United States.

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Do you have any support for your theory that the US is a majority non-white country? Per the 2010 census, 72.4% of Americans are white.

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It depends on whether you include or exclude Hispanics from "white" - they're included in that 72.4%. The census has five race groups: white, black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

However, the questionnaire did ask, as a separate field, if the respondent identified as hispanic.

2010 census data reports 16% hispanics, 13% black, 5% asian, 7% other, 3% multiracial. That's still only 44% of the population, but given the rates of population growth in each category, we are now (7 years later) quite close to parity.

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White Hispanics are included in that 72.4%. Non-white Hispanics are not. Is it really your view that there are no white people in Latin America? Perhaps you should travel more.

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You can see it quite clearly here: https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br... , specifically the table on p.4.

Of the total population, (100%), 72.4% are white, 12.6 are black, .9 are native american, 4.8 are asian, .2 are pacific islander, 6.2 are other, 2.9 are multiracial. "Hispanic", white or otherwise, is not on the list.

As for the second point, racial categorization is culturally dependent. There are, for example, plenty of Brazilians who would be called "blanco" in Brazil, but would be generally identified as "non-white" here.

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See Page 6. 53% of Hispanics identified themselves as white. 47% identified themselves otherwise. So if you want to count a proportion of Hispanics as non-white to further your argument, you should count 47% of that 16%, or 7.5%. What you can't do, however, is subtract it from the 72.4%, because it's already subtracted. The 72.4% is the non-Hispanic whites plus the majority of Hispanics, who identify themselves as white.

And they speak Portuguese in Brazil. It's "branco."

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Actually, it depends on your definition of "non-white". If you look at the under 18 population, and include "Hispanic origin" in the "non-white" category (I know, I know), then you see that "white non-Hispanic" is indeed a minority in the 23% or so of the population under 18 years of age.

Never mind that people raised here ARE Americans and, well, who cares if they aren't "white" or European. It's all just an Alt-right panicked rallying cry.

(Second-hand reference. I tried using the Census factfinder but I know from working with it that it is incapable of doing any sort of rational search on even common queries.)

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If it's convenient to move the goalposts, we can redefine "person of color" to include white people of Hispanic origin, and we can redefine "population of the US" to mean "population of the US who are kids." But if you reserve the right to move the goalposts in this way, don't complain if someone does the opposite - it's equally legitimate. Next time somebody says that a brown person isn't really American because they weren't born here, recognize it as the opposing equivalent of the argument you just made.

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The one with the white baby and the text about her "being a minority in her own country"?

That's exactly the fear factor gambit going on here. Terrify people about brown hoards and, in particular, hoards of brown youth.

If you have to lump second and third generation Hispanic children in there to cook the numbers and inflate the "OMG others!" factor, well, they'll do it.

As for me, I'm still waiting for that taco truck on every corner ...

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You might be surprised to learn this, but there are a lot of people in this country who identify as both Hispanic and white (particularly in Texas and northwest of Texas.) Some of them were in the US before where they lived was in the US, and some of them predate the arrival of the more established side of my family (i.e. about a century ago.)

Also, if I remember correctly, although for different reasons, Sock Puppet is one of those who have the dual identity.

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Exact quote from my first post: "I know, I know"

I thought that I made it pretty damn clear that the arguments were specious, and that I wasn't supporting them - just answering sock puppet's question about "were the hell did this come from".

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When Mr. Puppet and I mixed it up over a year ago, I did take the position that Hispanics are indeed considered distinct from white people overall, but in the long term, the numbers might not matter. A hundred years ago, people made all sorts of noise about the growing numbers of people from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe swarming over the shores of this land, but today, well, aside from you showing your biases by attacking a person whose parents came from Co. Galway with comments about how his Dorchester self must now be living in Marshfield, the descendants of those people 100 years ago are fairly integrated into white America. Therefore, the difference between saying the US is 76.9% White and 61.3% White (both from the 2016 Census estimates, and no, I'm bad at linking, so no link) is as academic as pointing out the percentage foreign born in 1920. Therefore, Puppet is as right as he is wrong.

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I wonder at the ease with which you appoint yourself as the arbiter of someone else's whiteness.

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I'm on your side this time.

That said, it will be society's judgment ultimately. Yes, it should be individuals that decide about their own race or ethnic label, but if we are being honest, it is the observations of others that has a giant effect.

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I want my damn taco truck on the corner too. And I agree about the motivations. And I fail to understand why people should be so damn attached to being melanin-deficient.

I'm just saying that imprecision and exaggeration hurt an argument, even one I agree with. I'd rather see someone I _don't_ agree with make a poor argument.

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(80% or so is my estimation), someone gets arrested for anything (felony and/or misdemeanor). Person is fingerprinted, ICE gets an alert because they are connected to the fingerprint database, ICE calls department and lets them know they are coming to pick the person up. 80% of the time the person didn't make bail anyway, so the department is holding them anyway. Or, the person gets picked up in court the next morning when they show up for the arraignment and ICE is waiting there for them.

I haven't been involved with bookings/prisoners/bail processes in a while, but I do remember sometimes ICE (or any federal agency) calling before bail is issued and asking the person to be held. I think the CO of the station simply held them based on this request.

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You: "I think the CO of the station simply held them based on this request."

The article: "a man who had a criminal charge dismissed should not have been then locked up to await federal officials"

So at that point there were no criminal charges and they had no legal basis to hold the person for ICE which is a very different scenario than what you paint where people are awaiting arraignment.

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Not in reference to what happened to the court officers here.

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and can either be under 287g, which has been around nationally since 1997 (https://www.ice.gov/factsheets/287g), or Secure Communities, which has gone through a few iterations since 2008. I don't know in what years the three MA jurisdictions that have MOAs under 287g actually started, those MOA signing dates are the most recent renewals.

Boston was one of the first pilot programs for Secure Communities, actually.. of course without making it very public.

Secure Communities is an information-sharing program between local law enforcement, the FBI, and ICE, that also gives ICE the ability to request notifications and detainers, which local jurisdictions can accept or not.

287g makes local corrections and law enforcement officials into delegated ICE officials, empowered to carry out a number of Federal tasks, at local taxpayer expense.

Here's a fun and helpful interactive map: https://www.ilrc.org/local-enforcement-map

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Let me guess, the MA courts will be as a matter of unwritten policy reducing felony charges for 'special' people to misdemeanors keep them below the threshold requiring them to be held for ICE?

I seem to recall a serial bank robbing accused double murderer that received that treatment.

Didn't work out so well for the victims

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You didn't read the decision. It makes a clear line between criminal offenses (and that includes misdemeanors) and civil infractions. In this particular case, the guy was facing a criminal charge, even if the nature of that charge had changed to a lesser offense. Once it was dismissed, he, well, wasn't.

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"ICE had asked Boston Police to hold Sreynuon Lunn for them when he'd been arrested last October on a charge of unarmed robbery - later reduced to a lesser charge of larceny."

Yet another person of dubious immigration status with a charge of robbery being reduced to simple larceny? As the saying goes, "If I get in trouble I don't want any special treatment, just treat me like an illegal alien." What is Dan Conley up to in these cases?

If this guy goes to a luxury apartment in Southie and butchers two doctors like the last guy or if he harms anyone else, Conley should resign. Commissioner Evans should also answer why BPD didn't cooperate with ICE while the very serious felony criminal charges were still pending and answer whether his police prosecutors (officers who work in the court alongside ADA's) are approving Conley's efforts to lower charges to avoid deportations. The BPD prosecutor would know hours in advance if the case wasn't moving forward and would have plenty of time to tell ICE to swing by and arrest him when the Boston case ended. They didn't. Sad.

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Can we believe the stats coming from police departments on illegal immigrant crime?

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1. express your "doubts" in something other than vague rumor-mongering statements. In other words, be far more specific in your critique of specific methodologies. Unless your goal is to cast aspersions rather than be concrete about issues.

2. Do tell us where the "actual" stats are kept and the source and methodology used in their collection. This would allow us to discuss the issue that you raised like intelligent adults rather than twittering like terrified sparrows.

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What part of "charges were dropped" don't you understand?

It doesn't matter what alleged crime he was initially arrested for and charged with, the charges were dropped. Which means legally he's innocent.

And this case has nothing to do with the charge being reduced from unarmed robbery to larceny - a criminal charge is still a criminal charge, and wouldn't have any bearing on the legality of holding this man until ICE showed up.

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Of course reducing the charges is extremely relevant since larceny keeps the case in District Court (or BMC) with a maximum 2.5 year sentence in the HOC and not Suffolk Superior where unarmed robbery is punishable by life in Walpole. It's the same thing that happened with the Green Crad holder in the brutal Southie double murder. Reduce charges (2-3 bank robberies) from unarmed robbery to pickpocket and agree to a sentence of 364 days because 365 days triggers deportation. Sanctuary DA's office resulting in two dead Doctors and God knows what other mayhem that goes unreported.

What's unclear in this case is the reason for Conley's office "not being ready to move forward" with the case and why the charges were significantly lowered prior to that. Continuances are granted all the time for both sides if a witness is unavailable or an officer is on vacation. Obviously there was probable cause for arrest on unarmed robbery and a clerk magistrate also found probable cause to issue the charges at arraignment the next day. If BPD and/or the DA knew the case wasn't going forward, they would have had plenty of time to call ICE to arrest the illegal, who has been subject to a deportation order since 2008. Can't wait for Howie to obtain the police reports on the unarmed robbery and this guy's criminal/welfare record. I notice he claimed to be indigent so we paid for his lawyer. Only in America!

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Sounds like a pattern of bigotry expressed in irrational support of wasting a lot of state money contrary to numerous rulings regarding the 10th amendment protections against the federal government commandeering state resources (one of the more recent having been authored by Scalia).

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Commandeering state resources? What does the 3rd Amendment have to do with this?

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I seem to remember certain southern states thinking that federal orders didn't apply to them. How did that go again?

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Are the fair-weather States' Rights advocates hiding in the same closet the NRA guys hid in when Philando Castile was shot for owning a gun?

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As much as I didn't like the NRA before Philando Castile, their non-response to his shooting makes it clear to me they're not at all interested in gun owner rights when said gun owner is non-white.

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They haven't represented gun owners in decades. When you think of them as a lobbying firm for gun manufacturers ensuring that there is not legislation which will have a negative impact on sales their actions make a lot more sense.

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The NSSF is the actual gun industry lobby
NRA, GOA, SAF, JPFO are gun owner lobbies

The NRA has a very large membership of law enforcement officers and isn't going to piss them off.

GOA, SAF, JPFO all were vocal about Castile. SAF may even be in the process of filing a lawsuit.

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Recognizing a new common-law power to effect a Federal civil immigration arrest would also create an anomaly in our common law.

The SJC is a little disingenuous here. They're creating a new rule, using the argument that they shouldn't create a new rule. It's not like states holding people for federal immigration violations on behalf of ICE is a brand new thing that suddenly just started in 2017. The only thing that's changed in 2017 is a new president taking office.

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Just recognizing old law for what it is: still the law.

That is their job, after all. Interpreting the laws and upholding precedents.

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He was charged with robbing a homeless man, who then never showed up in court. Without his testimony, there was no case.

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Oh, will I'm just your average young white girl working in Downtown Boston. If I stole money from a homeless person I'm sure you'd be the first to say how wrong it is. Question for you: what exactly does this guy do for a living and is he a productive member of our society? Does he pay taxes like me? Does he rent or own or do I do it for him? No further questions. Send him back.

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Is that if ICE wants him, they need to go get him but that Massachusetts is not going to let them violate state law to do so.

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I don't think the pro-amnesty side thought this through.

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they're forced to do their jobs with their own personnel on their own time and with their own money and intelligence.

well, "intelligence"

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...local law enforcement databases are already hardwired into the Department of Justice, which is accessible to Dept of Homeland Security, so our intel is their intel, as it were. You get fingerprinted and booked somewhere in the US and there is the potential for ICE to know about it (even if you're a US citizen).

The issue is that even with their explosive, bacteria-like growth of their budget, there isn't the capacity within DHS and the Border Patrol to chase-down, round-up and deport all the undocumented people in the U.S. So they need local and state law enforcement/court systems to act as an extension of their authority.
Happily the MA SJC said nope.

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This is true for ATF holds too, right?

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