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DA Marian Ryan Urges SJC To Preserve Right of All Persons to Access Courts Without Fear of Civil Arrest by ICE

DA Marian Ryan

Atty. Paul King

 (Editor's note: The following press release was issued by the office of Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan.  A PDF version of her amicus brief is attached.)

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan today has filed an amicus letter with the Supreme Judicial Court urging the court to reserve and report the petition, SJ-2018-0119, A Petition for Writ of Protection Pursuant to G.L. c. 211, § 3, urging the Supreme Judicial Court to preserve the right of all persons to access the courts of this Commonwealth without fear of civil arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on unrelated civil immigration matters. 

“I am deeply concerned that the prospect of ICE conducting civil arrests in courthouses across the Commonwealth will have a hugely detrimental effect on law enforcement and on the ability of prosecutors to seek justice on behalf of the Commonwealth. I share the concerns voiced by the petitioners, and other amicus filings, that victims and witnesses will be greatly harmed by the specter of ICE agents arresting individuals who are required to attend court. Justice is harmed when victims and witnesses, who are essential to our prosecutions, are afraid to even set foot in a courthouse because of the possibility of facing arrest for civil immigration infractions. In the absence of critical witnesses, the Commonwealth will inevitably be forced to dismiss cases, including those that involve serious violent crimes. Criminals will feel emboldened to commit crimes against individuals who they know are now more unlikely to report those crimes or participate in subsequent prosecutions.” – District Attorney Ryan. 

The United States Census Bureau estimates that twenty percent of the population of Middlesex County was born outside of the United States. This amounts to over three hundred thousand individuals in a county of over 1.6 million. About half of those individuals, or approximately 150,000, are estimated to be non-citizens with various immigration statuses.

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