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Civil Rights April 20, 2014
 
Civil Rights
 

The Constitutionality of Using a Drug-Detection Dog During a Traffic Stop

The Fourth Amendment prohibition against "unreasonable searches and seizures" generally requires police officers to obtain a warrant based on probable ...(more)

 

Alimony Statute Requiring Husbands, But Not Wives, to Pay Alimony Unconstitutional

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, decided in 1967, declared certain Alabama alimony statutes unconstitutional because they required men, and ...(more)

 

Questions Over Constitutionality of New Arizona Law

A new immigration bill signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010 will be challenged in court, according ...(more)

 

The Race of the Victim and Preserving Jury Discretion in Capital Punishment Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the death penalty under the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the ...(more)

 

Civil Rights & Constitutional Law Headlines

Former Officer Gets 5 Years In East Haven Civil Rights Case

The Civil Rights of Children

HUD cracks down on Dallas for housing discrimination

Lawsuit Spotlights AC Police Brutality Complaints

Florida Democrats to push civil-rights bills in 2014

Questions Over Constitutionality of New Arizona Law


A new immigration bill signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010 will be challenged in court, according to the Los Angeles Times.  The law, which is set to be implemented this summer, makes it a state crime to be present illegally in Arizona.  It requires local police to ask for proof of lawful immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion that someone is present in the state in violation of federal immigration law.  The law would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.  It also bars day laborers from soliciting work in public places in Arizona.
 
Constitutionality Questioned
Controversy over the new law has blown up across the United States as well as in Mexico, where the government has been very vocal about its opposition to Arizona's new policies.  Immigrant advocacy groups and constitutional law attorneys, including the ACLU and MALDEF, are preparing to file lawsuits aimed at stopping the law from taking effect.  One of the main challenges proposed is the argument that only the federal government has the power to enforce its immigration laws.  This is the same argument that effectively stopped many aspects of California's Proposition 187 from taking effect fifteen years ago.  Although the lawyer who drafted the Arizona bill attempted to avoid violating this core tenet of constitutional law, many legal commentators and analysts feel that the bill is vulnerable to a challenge on this basis. 
 
Attorneys and Law Enforcement Raise Concerns
Attorneys will likely also bring additional legal arguments against the implementation of the new bill, which is believed by many to be an overzealous and xenophobic effort that will probably result in racial profiling, improper detentions of innocent people, and wasted government money.  Additionally, law enforcement officers have raised concerns that the new law will subvert public safety efforts.  Even before any lawsuits are filed, protests and boycotts of all kinds are being considered, organized, and executed around the country.
 
Seek Advice from an Attorney if You Have Been Arrested
If you have been arrested, seek advice from a criminal defense attorney immediately to understand your options and protect your rights.

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