Tuesday, December 15, 2009

COLORADO SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR ALL REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS

COLORADO SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR ALL REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS:
The court held that the Weld County District Attorney’s office
violated the Fourth Amendment when seizing tax files

Denver, CO [December 14] – The American Friends Service Committee and Al Frente de Lucha applaud the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to uphold fourth amendment search and seizure as well as privacy protections.

“Today the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed that the Constitution protects everyone residing here from illegal searches and seizures, regardless of immigration status. The Court found that the search warrant executed by the Weld County Sheriff and used by the Weld County District Attorney in this case lacked any individualized probable cause to justify the search of Mr. Gutierrez’ files, while affirming that taxpayers have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their tax returns and return information,” explained criminal defense and immigration lawyer Hans Meyer. “Finally, the Court found that the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant in this case was so lacking in indicia of probable cause that no reasonable officer could have relied upon it.”

The Court recognized that the Weld County District Attorney’s office circumvented the law in the case of Gutierrez. District Attorney Ken Buck failed to prove individual probable cause and violated the taxpayer’s privacy rights based on federal and state laws that protect the confidentiality of tax returns and return information.

The Weld County District Attorney’s office illegally seized more than 1,300 tax records from Amalia’s Tax and translation service in October of 2008. The District Attorney’s office then began a fishing expedition aimed at criminalizing immigrant taxpayers.

“The case never would have gone this far if the tax documents had been seized from Arthur Anderson,” stated James Merson the criminal defense lawyer at the trial and Supreme Court levels.

“Al Frente de Lucha lauds the Court’s decision to uphold the rule of law under the constitution. The DA’s office unjustly charged and prosecuted working, taxpaying members of our community, divided the Weld County community, and has since spent hundreds of thousands of Weld County dollars defending these misguided policies” says Ricardo Romero, co-founder of Greeley’s Al Frente de Lucha.

“We believe that everyone in our community benefits when all our rights are equally protected. Now that we have had a reaffirmation of our constitution, we hope that the focus will be on passing a just and humane immigration reform in 2010. Key components of this reform should include: a clear path to permanent residence, family reunification a top priority, protection of labor rights for all workers, and respect the civil and human rights of immigrants,” stated Gabriela Flora, Project Voice Regional Organizer of the American Friends Service Committee.

For more details on what just and humane immigration reform looks like, please see AFSC’s A New Path: Toward humane immigration policy http://www.afsc.org/newpath

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

1 comment:

Amit said...

Under both Colorado and Federal Law you are entitled to protection from illegal searches and seizures by the Government. If the Colorado Springs police or other law enforcement did not have probable cause to perform the search evidence may be suppressed, or the charges may even be dismissed.
Colorado criminal defense lawyer