Judge dismisses second suit against SB1070
Published: August 31, 2010 at 5:20 pm
A federal judge dismissed the second of six suits filed against Arizona’s strict new immigration law, ruling that a Tucson police officer did not have standing to challenge SB1070.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton on Aug. 31 granted Gov. Jan Brewer’s motion to dismiss the suit filed by Officer Martin Escobar. The suit was the first of six filed to seek to overturn SB1070, and the second dismissed by Bolton in the past week.
“I strongly believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail in all of these legal challenges. My defense of the rule of law will continue,” Brewer said in a press statement.
The lawsuit, filed in late April, argued that SB1070 would force Escobar, an officer with the Tucson Police Department, to violate Latinos’ civil rights, while subjecting him to disciplinary action if he failed to enforce the law and legal action if he did.
But Bolton said Escobar did not have standing, meaning he did not have the right under the law to challenge SB1070. She wrote in her ruling that Escobar did not sufficiently show that he would suffer harm as a direct result of the law. His arguments that he would be forced to violate other people’s rights were too speculative, Bolton wrote, and standing can only be based on the rights of the plaintiff, not a third party.
“Standing requires the plaintiff to allege that he ‘has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury,’” Bolton wrote, quoting a prior ruling.
Bolton noted that SB1070 holds agencies and governments liable for failure to enforce the law, but does not include similar penalties for individual officers. Officers also face no civil liability for enforcing laws, except in cases in which they act in bad faith, Bolton wrote.
Escobar’s was the second SB1070-related lawsuit Bolton dismissed recently. On Aug. 24, Bolton dismissed a lawsuit filed against SB1070 by Washington, D.C. resident Roberto Frisancho. Frisancho, who is Hispanic, argued that the law would prohibit him from traveling to Arizona to conduct research on a 1997 roundup of illegal immigrants in Chandler.
In late July, Bolton issued an injunction against major portions of the law. The judge blocked a provision that made it a misdemeanor state crime to be in the country illegally and another section that required officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status if there was a reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally. A provision barring cities from hindering the enforcement of immigration law was left in place.