In the recent case Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court ruled that any immigrant in detention isn’t automatically entitled to the constitutional right of a bail bond hearing.
Charged with a misdemeanor, Mexican immigrant Alejandro Rodriguez was kept in a detention facility for 3 years, and denied a bail bond hearing. With the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), he was able to take back his freedom after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that it was unconstitutional to deny detained immigrants bond hearings for over 6 months as established in the 2015 case Rodriguez v. Robbins. However, this case ascended to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court’s Decision
On February 27, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 3 decision that immigrants in detention centers, do not automatically receive the right to a bail bond hearing and can be detained for any period. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. justified this by arguing that the statutes never explicitly indicate that the periodic hearings are an ensured right—from a very technical standpoint, the exact text can keep immigrants detained indefinitely. Justice Breyer refuted this, claiming that despite the exact rhetoric of the statute, they must see the big picture of the scenario where all men and women—immigrant or not—have their intrinsic rights as provided by the Declaration of Independence. Ultimately, the case was sent back to the 9th Circuit court where the question of “Should immigrants be guaranteed bail bond hearings?” is to be deliberate.
How it affects you
Due process, or an individual’s right to a fair court proceeding, is at stake here and immigrant rights have been severely wounded by this Supreme Court decision. But despite all this, not all hope is lost. The decision has not yet been finalized as the lower courts still must decide on the constitutionality of the entire scenario. Additionally, legal counsel is still available to any immigrant detained or wrongfully deported. While bail bond hearings are extremely effective, other options are available too such as habeas corpus petitions which challenge the legality of one’s imprisonment. Stripping away immigrants’ rights to a bail bond hearing is a major blow, however, advocacy for change and hope always remains.
Contact Shan Potts Law Offices at 323-803-7147 if you or someone you know requires legal assistance.