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Will Sanctuary Laws Divide the Nation, Starting With California?

The California Senate passed a controversial sanctuary law, essentially directing local law enforcement not to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

The sanctuary law, which is headed to the Assembly and then the governor's desk for signature, may become the first statewide sanctuary law in the nation. In California, it would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for immigration violations.

According to many news reports, more states are likely to follow. Law enforcement officials, who are caught in the middle, are not sure what to do.

"The federal government is going to have to step in and decide if this is worth a lawsuit, because I am not sure what we can do," said Donny Youngblood, the sheriff in Kern County and the president of the California State Sheriffs' Association. "All we are doing is providing information to the federal government so that they can do their job.

Deported Immigrants Will Get Due Process, Feds Foot the Bill

Immigrants who suffered mental disabilities and were forced to leave the United States will finally have their day in court -- with competent representation.

A Federal judge sitting in Los Angeles, Hon. Dolly Gee, approved a settlement that would allow hundreds of deported immigrants suffering from severe mental disabilities to return to the United States to contest their deportation with the aid of the ACLU. The nearly 900 plaintiffs brought a class action suit against against Eric Holder in 2011; and the ruling comes to them as a victory.

If you're facing minor drug charges in California, your outcome may be fairly predictable. The pattern typically goes something like this: get busted, plead guilty and undergo drug treatment. If successful, your charges will be dropped.

Except if you're a noncitizen. Pleading guilty to a drug charge could trigger your deportation. Even if the state wipes away your minor drug conviction, federal immigration law does not forget it. A proposed California law is seeking to change that, however, offering relief to noncitizens charged with minor drug crimes.

Calif. State Senator Wants Prop 187's Remnants Removed From Law

How many ridiculous, outdated, or otherwise unless laws remain on the books in any given state? Here in the golden-est of states, they may still be legion. But if California State Sen. Kevin de León is successful, the last vestiges of the one of the most troubling, Proposition 187, won't be one of them.

While 2013 appears to be "the year of doing nothing" in Washington, D.C., the California Immigrant Policy Center has lauded it "the 'year of the immigrant' in California, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Governor Brown stated: "While Washington waffles on immigration, California's forging ahead ... I'm not waiting." And forging he is, signing eight bills making sweeping changes to immigration laws in California.

To do, or not to do, that is the question.

The Supreme Court of California had to determine the correct standard a defendant had to meet in establishing prejudice, where he was not advised that his plea would affect his immigration status.

While the lower courts looked at whether the defendant's decision would have led to a more favorable result, the Supreme Court held that the determining factor is not what the result would have been, but what the defendant would have done, if properly advised.

Can Illegal Immigrants Practice Law in California?

The California Supreme Court will soon decide whether illegal immigrants can be licensed as attorneys in the state. The court issued an order on Wednesday directing the California Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) to show cause why the court should admit an undocumented immigrant to the California State Bar, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Sergio Garcia, the undocumented immigrant at the center of the controversy, has passed the bar and the moral examination. His application to the California Bar, however, has stalled due to his immigration status. Garcia’s parents brought him to the U.S. when he was 17-months-old, and he has been waiting for a Green Card for 17 years, according to the ABA Journal.

SCOTUS Denies Cert on Cal. Supreme Court In-StateTuition Ruling

Is a California tuition law that benefits illegal aliens against the law? We might never know what the Supreme Court has to say on this matter, as the high court denied the petition of certiorari in the case of Martinez v. Regents of University of California.

The controversial California Supreme Court decision made its bid to the Supreme Court earlier this year. Unfortunately, it just didn't have what it takes to get the Supreme Court nod.

So, in case you missed the hoopla over Martinez v. Regents last year, here's a recap. The State of California had a policy in place which granted reduced in-state tuition at state colleges and universities for nearly all graduates from California high schools.

In People v. Lara, No. S155481, the California Supreme Court faced a challenge to the court of appeals' reversal of trial court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss the petition to extend his commitment.  The defendant moved to dismiss the petition for failure to comply with the statutory 90-day filing deadline.

In holding that the court of appeals erred in directing the trial court to grant the motion to dismiss, the court held that the statutory deadline for filing an extension petition is not mandatory, but rather directory as long as the petition is filed before the expiration of the current commitment.  Here, the defendant is not entitled to dismissal on due process grounds, and had he so move, he would have been entitled to release pending trial, subject to possible LPA Act proceedings.  However, defendant is not now entitled to relief as trial court retained jurisdiction to try him.

In the companion case of People v. Cobb, No. S159410, the court similarly faced a challenge to extension of commitment by a defendant arguing that he was denied due process because he remained in custody while his extension trial was continued, without good cause, beyond his scheduled release date.

In affirming the recommitment order, the court held that, at the end of defendant's commitment, he was entitled to release pending trial on the extension petition, unless good cause to continue the trial was shown or he waived time.  However, defendant is not now entitled to release as the court did not lose jurisdiction to try him. 

In California Court of Appeals cases, People ex rel. Reisig v. Acuna, No. C059375, dealt with a challenge in the Third District to a trial court's grant of district attorney's motion for a preliminary injunction against an alleged criminal street gang, enjoining their activities in approximately 3-square mile area of West Sacramento.

Although the court held that there was sufficient and credible evidence to support the trial court's conclusion that the group is a criminal street gang and that their activities have created a public nuisance, two provisions in the injunction dealing with alcohol consumption and controlled substances are unenforceable for vagueness.

In People v. Puluc-Sique, No. A123451, the First District dealt with the People's request to extend the appellate disentitlement doctrine to a criminal defendant who had been deported from the country by the ICE.

In denying the request, the court held that because the doctrine applies to fugitives, a defendant who has been deported does not stand in the same shoes as one who has voluntarily placed himself beyond the court's control.

Related Resources:

Sturgeon v. Bratton, No. B209913

In an action challenging an LAPD policy prohibiting officers from initiating police action to discover the immigration status of an individual, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff failed to adduce evidence supporting an as-applied challenge; and 2) federal law did not preempt the policy on its face.

Read the full decision in Sturgeon v. Bratton, No. B209913. [html]

Read the full decision in Sturgeon v. Bratton, No. B209913. [pdf]

Appellate Information:

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Rolf M. Treu, Judge. Affirmed.
Opinion filed on June 17, 2009


Opinion by CROSKEY, J.


Judicial Watch, Inc. and Sterling E. Norris for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Rockard J. Delgadillo, City Attorney and Paul L. Winnemore, Deputy City Attorney for Defendants and Respondents.

ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Hector O. Villagra, Belinda Escobosa Helzer, Mark Rosenbaum and Ahilan Arulanantham for Interveners and Respondents.