Canyon County

Lawsuit: Local jail held man after he posted bond solely because of immigration status

New jail bond? Here’s what the current Canyon County Jail looks like.

Canyon County Sheriff's Lt. Dale Stafford gives a tour of the current 28-year-old jail and explains what would change in a new one.
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Canyon County Sheriff's Lt. Dale Stafford gives a tour of the current 28-year-old jail and explains what would change in a new one.

A third lawsuit has been filed against Canyon County alleging that jail officials intentionally and unlawfully kept a person in custody after he posted bond due to an immigration detainer.

The plaintiff in the case is Ramon Espinoza Rodriguez, a Canyon County resident who was booked into jail May 27, 2017, on a warrant with a $1,000 bond. According to the lawsuit filed in federal court Friday, Espinoza Rodriguez’s daughter was told by a bail bondsman that his bond could not be paid for his release due to a hold by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Online court records show Espinoza Rodriguez was booked in for misdemeanor harassment through the use of a telephone, a charge he pleaded not guilty to and was later dismissed by the court.

The immigration detainer that Canyon County received stated Espinoza Rodriguez was removable from the country because of statements made by him or because there was “reliable evidence” that his immigration status was in jeopardy under U.S. immigration law, according to the lawsuit. The detainer requested that Canyon County maintain custody of the plaintiff for a period “not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time when (he) would otherwise have been released.”

The lawsuit also alleges that on or about 2:30 p.m. May 31, 2017, Espinoza Rodriguez’s daughter paid the $1,000 bond at the Canyon County jail, but he was not released until about noon on June 1, 2017. The lawsuit alleges that Canyon County “is not authorized to make civil arrests for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

It alleges that Canyon County has “a policy, practice, or custom of detaining inmates solely due to an immigration detainer” and the practice is so widespread that it is known by and acted upon by third parties, such as local bail bond companies.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Canyon County has failed to appropriately train its officials on immigration detainers, as well as arrest and detention authority.

Canyon County has not responded to the complaint filed by Espinoza Rodriguez. County spokesman Joe Decker said Tuesday that the county has not yet been served, but regardless, the county does not comment on pending litigation.

A similar lawsuit was filed in 2018 against Canyon County, in which an inmate claimed his wife was dissuaded from posting his bond because of an immigration hold. That plaintiff, Senobio Padilla-Arredondo, is represented by the same attorneys who are representing Espinoza Rodriguez. Padilla-Arredondo’s case is still pending.

At about the same time, a lawsuit of the same nature was filed regarding Canyon County resident Gustavo Carrera-Garcia, who also alleged that he was wrongfully held in custody due to an immigration hold. Espinoza Rodriguez’s attorney, Maria Andrade, also handled Carrera-Garcia’s case, and said that case has been settled. Andrade did not specify the settlement amount.

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