Criminal Law

Crim. Law Journal Fall 2017, Vol. 17, Issue 3


By Allison G. Macbeth*

Well after the recent presidential election, immigration remains at the forefront of the national debate. This public debate, though, has negatively impacted the criminal justice system in real ways. Recent statistics provided by law enforcement have shown that reports of crime in immigrant communities are down. For example, reports of domestic violence are down 18 percent among the Latino community and down 29 percent among the city’s Asian community for the first half of 2017 compared to the same time in 2016, according to SFPD data.

The fears harbored by the undocumented immigrant community are real and legitimate. The Los Angeles Times reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a criminal defendant as he walked out of the courtroom.1 The defendant’s attorney, Mr. Octavio Chaidez, said he had never—in his 15 years as a defense attorney—seen ICE agents make an arrest inside a courthouse. The article also reported that courtroom sweeps had occurred not just in California, but also in Arizona, Texas, and Colorado.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye condemned these tactics and highlighted the unfairness of these sweeps in the very place where fairness should rule:

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