D.Ariz.: State criminal case remedy doesn’t preclude injunctive relief against unlawful arrests

In an injunctive relief action against former Sheriff Arpaio over state enforcement of federal immigration laws, the court considers the factors for injunctive relief, and concludes that having state Fourth Amendment remedies doesn’t undo irreparable harm. Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44517 (D. Ariz. March 24, 2017) (see Treatise § 64.18 on injunctions):

The Court previously determined that state prosecution of fraud in the I-9 process is preempted by federal law. Doc. 623. Because the Court’s definition of the preempted field was narrower than the field proposed by Plaintiffs in their motion for summary judgment, and other issues remained regarding the appropriate remedy, the Court asked the parties to file supplemental memoranda. See Docs. 654, 672, 676. The Court heard oral arguments on March 9, 2017. For the reasons that follow, the Court will issue a permanent injunction against Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone. Readers are referred to the Court’s previous decisions for relevant background information. See, e.g., Puente Arizona v. Arpaio, No. CV-14-01356-PHX-DGC, 2016 WL 6873294 (D. Ariz. Nov. 22, 2016).

. . .

The Court cannot conclude that a motion to suppress, or post-conviction relief, or even a later action under § 1983 will redress all of the harm caused when a person is arrested, indicted, and prosecuted on criminal charges. In Easyriders Freedom F.I.G.H.T. v. Hannigan, 92 F.3d 1486 (9th Cir. 1996), the Ninth Circuit rejected the argument that the availability of a defense at trial was an adequate legal remedy for a violation of the Fourth Amendment. 92 F.3d at 1501. The Ninth Circuit explained: “Because the Fourth Amendment establishes the right of the people to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures, however, the wrong that the Fourth Amendment is designed to prevent is completed when a motorcyclist is cited without probable cause.” Id. (alterations incorporated and quotation marks omitted); see also Zepeda v. U.S. I.N.S., 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir. 1983).

Here, genuine harm occurs when individuals are arrested or charged with identity theft or forgery based on information submitted in the federal employment authorization process. Plaintiffs are further harmed when this information is used in an investigation that leads to prosecution, even if that prosecution ultimately fails or is not based on documents submitted in the I-9 process. The availability of suppression or post-conviction relief simply does not remedy the harm from apprehension, arrest, and a formal criminal charge. Indeed, there is generally no adequate legal remedy for an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty. See Seretse-Khama v. Ashcroft, 215 F. Supp. 2d 37, 53 & n.20 (D.D.C. 2002) (compiling cases saying the same). The Court concludes that Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of irreparable harm against Puente members. As a result, the Court need not determine whether the taxpayer Plaintiffs or Puente as an organization independent of its members will suffer irreparable harm.

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