Feb 11

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Does the Trust Act Actually Protect the Detained?

Yes, the new law is already protecting immigrants who are suspects of crimes.  I recently had the pleasure of seeing the act in action this past week with my own client.  We anticipated that the Sheriffs of San Mateo Maguire Jail would transfer my client to immigration custody since had an immigration hold.  This was the normal order of business.  However, instead, the sherrifs took the time to individually evaluate my client’s case and released him in accordance with the new law known as the Trust Act.

The Trust Act was signed on October 5, 2013 by Governor Brown of California.  The law recognizes and addresses the following issues with immigration detainers (requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to keep a suspect in custody):

  • Non-citizens who are victims of crime are afraid to report crimes to police because they will be subject to deportation;
  • Non-citizens are detained by immigration unlawfully because no evidence is needed by ICE to to request to hold a non-citizen in custody (whereas, for criminal warrants, a police officer must have probable cause that a crime occurred).
  • Each county is enforcing immigration detainers differently, there is unequal treatment of immigrants cross California.
How does the Trust Act address the problems mentioned above?  By prohibiting Sherrifs from transferring a non-citizen to ICE after they complete their criminal custody unless certain conditions are met.  These conditions include a long list of serious and violent crimes.
Who is protected from the Trust Act?
  • Non-citizen who is arrested for a crime, but no charges are brought;*
  • Non-citizen who is charged with a crime, but charges are dismissed;*
  • Non-citizen who pleads guilty to an infraction or misdemeanor.*
What does this mean for you?  If you are shopping for a criminal attorney, make sure to find one that has experience in immigration law.  This way, you can save money from having to post immigration bail and precious time by being able to see them right after they complete their immigration sentence.
In my client’s case, he was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  Had he pled to them, he would have been immediately transferred to ICE and subject to mandatory detention (no possibility for bail).  Rather, he was released from custody because we reduced his charges to one count of misdemeanor simple battery.


*Does not apply if non-citizen had a conviction for a felony on record or within last 5 years of criminal custody, a wobbler (crime that can be charged as misdemeanor or felony).

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.weismanlawyers.com/does-the-trust-act-actually-protect-the-detained/

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