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Idaho county settles lawsuit over jailhouse detention hold

Posted: 5:24 AM, Oct 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-07 16:58:55-04
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CANYON COUNTY, Idaho — Officials in Canyon County have settled a lawsuit filed by a man who said the county officials illegally refused to let him post bond because they were suspicious about his citizenship status.

Senobio Padilla-Arredondo’s civil rights lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge on Wednesday because of the settlement agreement.

The terms of the settlement were not included in court documents and Canyon County officials have not yet responded to a public records request seeking information on the settlement terms.

The case began when Padilla-Arredondo was arrested in 2016 and charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence. His bond was set at $1,250, but Padilla-Arredondo said his spouse was told she couldn’t pay that bond the day of his arrest.

In the lawsuit, he said his spouse was turned away by the county two more times, illegally forcing him to remain in jail long after when he would normally have been released.

He contended that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lodged an immigration detention request against him on March 10 _ the day he was sentenced on the misdemeanor charge _ but there was no federal detention request prior to that date.

The agency’s detention requests are considered administrative warrants, a type of civil procedure. Padilla-Arredondo’s attorneys contended that Canyon County officials had no legal authority to continue holding him in jail on a criminal charge simply because they believed another agency might decide to issue a civil hold order against a person at some point in the future. Padilla-Arredondo contended that Canyon County’s actions amounted to an unconstitutional arrest without probable cause.

In court documents, Canyon County’s attorneys generally denied all wrongdoing and said the county has no duty to facilitate a criminal defendant’s release from custody.

Benjamin Stein, one of Padilla-Arredondo’s attorneys, said the county seems to have a policy of holding people based on the county’s suspicions about their immigration status. That sort of policy puts governments at risk of lawsuits, he said.

“We think there’s a custom of Canyon County not to release people that would otherwise be released, because they may be subject to investigation from ICE,” Stein said. “We think that the county should have clear policies that allow constituents to know whether they’re going to engage in unlawful arrest.”

Canyon County has faced similar lawsuits and settled a lawsuit brought by Gustavo Carrera-Garcia late last year, paying him $13,000 to end the case after he sued and alleged he was wrongfully held. Like Padilla-Arredondo, Carrera-Garcia contended that he was booked into the jail on a charge of misdemeanor driving under the influence and that county officials refused to allow him to post the bond that had been set by the judge.

Another man, Ramon Espinoza Rodriguez, filed a similar federal civil rights lawsuit against Canyon County in May. That case is still pending.

Sheriff Donahue issued a statement Monday in regards to this story. It reads:

“The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) values its collaborative relationship with its federal law enforcement partners and remains faithfully dedicated to its obligations under the law with regards to inmates. The dismissal agreement in this matter / lawsuit was settled through the County’s insurer, and did not involve any admission of wrongdoing by CCSO. Because other similar litigation is pending, the County cannot make any further statements on the matter.”