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Judge dismisses activist’s suit against Russell Pearce

Local activist Salvador Reza, left, listens as Heidi Portugal, middle, goes over her prepared speech, as Katherine Figueroa, right, looks over her speaking notes, before the children address the Arizona Senate judiciary committee as they hold their first hearing to a bill that challenges automatic U.S. citizenship for children of illegal immigrants, the state's latest foray into the national debate over illegal immigration at the Arizona Capitol, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A federal judge has dismissed immigration activist Salvador Reza’s lawsuit accusing former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce of illegally barring him from the Senate buildings.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone’s ruling on Thursday said Reza was properly barred from the Senate buildings by Pearce after security officials identified him as a person who was disruptive at a hearing.

Martone’s ruling says Reza produced no evidence to back up his allegation Pearce barred him because he is Mexican-American. And Martone wrote that Pearce’s actions were reasonable given his role in maintaining decorum in the Senate.

Reza was among vocal protesters attending a Feb. 22, 2011 Senate hearing on immigration bills. The next day, police arrested Reza on suspicion of trespassing but he was never formally charged.

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