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Posted on: November 7, 2014

Supreme Court Delays Appeals Court Order Allowing Bail for Undocumented Criminal Suspects

PHOENIX – The Supreme Court of the United States today ordered a stay of a recent judgment by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned Arizona’s law denying bail for undocumented suspects charged with serious crimes. In requesting the stay, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery argued that the Appeals Court ruling would cause irreparable harm by overwhelming county courts with bail hearings for undocumented suspects and releasing potentially dangerous criminals who pose a flight risk. The order, signed by Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, sets a deadline of noon on Monday, November 10, 2014 for a response from the plaintiffs in the case that originally challenged the no-bail law, Lopez-Valenzuela, et. al. v. Arpaio.

In 2006, Arizona voters approved Proposition 100 by a 78% majority vote. The measure, now codified as A.R.S. § 13-3961(A)(5), denies bail to individuals charged with serious felonies where “the proof is evident or the presumption great that the person is guilty of the offense charged” and “there is probable cause to believe that the person has entered or remained in the United States illegally.”

On October 15, 2014, a limited en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled the law was unconstitutional based on a lack of findings, studies or other evidence in the record showing that undocumented immigrants posed an unmanageable or significantly greater flight risk than lawful residents. The Ninth Circuit Court also denied Maricopa County’s request for a stay and a remand to introduce evidence supporting its position regarding the issue of increased flight risk.

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