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Judge blocks ICE from going into Massachusetts courthouses and detaining people who are not in custody or facing criminal charges

A federal judge today sided with two Massachusetts district attorneys and the state's public defenders and barred ICE from detaining people with business in Massachusetts courts while a lawsuit over the issue proceeds.

US District Court Judge Indira Talwani's preliminary injunction does not apply to people in federal or state custody or to people wanted on criminal charges, but to people who are facing only civil infractions.

Talwani wrote that Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Chelsea Collaborative "demonstrated a likelihood of success" in their suit to permanently enjoin ICE from monitoring courthouses for people they want to pick up, at least enough so to warrant barring the federal agency from continuing to do so while the lawsuit continues.

In a motion for a preliminary injunction, the DAs and public defenders wrote it was vital to protect people who are witnesses in cases, are plaintiffs or defendants in lawsuits or who have other business in court - such as seeking restraining orders against domestic abusers or fighting with their landlords.

For more than two centuries, courts, including the Supreme Court and this Court, have strictly enforced a "well settled" and "absolute" common-law privilege against civil arrest of those attending court on official business, recognizing that the judicial system cannot function if victims, parties, and witnesses are deterred from appearing in court by the threat that their appearance could be used as a trap. E.g., Stewart v. Ramsay, 242 U.S. 128, 129-130 (1916); Larned v. Griffin, 12 F. 590, 594 (D. Mass. 1882). In complete disregard for that well recognized limitation on the government's civil-arrest power, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") has ordered its agents to arrest parties and witnesses appearing in court — arrests based on alleged civil, not criminal, immigration infractions. As a result, tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents will not set foot in Massachusetts courts. Victims of domestic violence or of abusive practices by landlords and employers tolerate that abuse rather than risk ICE arrest. Criminal defendants accept default rather than risk appearing in court. And when prospective plaintiffs, victims, witnesses, and defendants do not appear in court, civil and criminal prosecution and defense often become impossible. In short, ICE's new and unprecedented policy has undermined access to justice in the precise way that common-law courts have predicted and protected against for centuries.

PDF icon Judge's ruling282.83 KB
PDF icon Motion for an injunction232.32 KB




ICE officials say family, friends and witnesses in court won't be arrested unless there are "special circumstances." ICE says it will "generally avoid" immigration enforcement in non-criminal courthouses such as family court. WBUR, September 21, 2018

Yawn. As we can see from the WBUR report almost a year ago, today's ruling changes little for ICE. In fact, it's encouraging to see that even an Obama judge is allowing the arrest of illegals in state court if they are in custody or wanted on criminal charges. That's all ICE asks and that will continue.


When you scratch a fascist, they always bleed blue

When you punch one in the face, they tend to stop talking

See you out there, FISH-y ;-)


Now we're using the comment section to threaten violence? That's not cool.

What happened to this site?


..so sensitive.

i didnt see a threat of violence anywhere.

that the extremists who are itching to incite street violence are liberals?

That's naked projection, the favorite tactic of right-wing loons and their cult leader, the would-be authoritarian president. Stop kidding yourselves, neo-fascists and ICE fanboys. We see you for what you are.


I know you are, but what am I? is a shockingly effective rhetorical device amongst dullards.


I am.
The violence I see is mostly from the left. Wear a MAGA hat and see what happens :). Noted instances of innocent people minding their own business being assaulted by people who still can't get over the fact trump won.

Nuts on both sides of the aisle,but the left is unhinged. You can try to excuse the actions of Antifa, and "activists", but I'm not buying it. I don't think I'm alone, but I do believe people are afraid to speak up out of fear of being assaulted.

People are responsible for their own actions, blaming hysterics over trump is silly and stupid.


I could point to numerous examples of Proud Boys and other white supremacists getting all fisty, but what's the point?


Sure you can and I'd agree with you. But, you conveniently ignore the numerous assaults form the left and in my opinion they are greater in number.

It's a common theme here, ignore when the narrative isn't correct.

The "activists" on the left are no better than proud boys.


because they're most definitely not racists or fascists.

in my opinion they are greater in number.

your opinion does not a statistic make, and people with data, not opinions, say otherwise.

ignore when the narrative isn't correct.

you realize that right here you are creating your own narrative?!



were you going to dispute the data at any point? or did i miss it?

nope, guess I didnt.

"erik g" threatened to punch "o-fish-l" in the face. I don't care where either of them reside on the political spectrum, that's not ok.

And the fact that it seems to be tolerated by the website proprietor is disturbing.


Lunchbox, this is just an internet Post from erik g (a regular poster here past his prime but still able to put up a Good Post once in awhile). You are acting as if they are exchanging meeting locations to fight or something (which I am not against per se, haha). Adam has way more important matters to attend to than veiled empty threats from people with low muscle tone who don’t know each other.

Weren't you banned from here under a different registered username?

i agree with you. i’m saying people on here and reactionaries in general use that device a lot.

"erik g" threatened to punch "o-fish-l" in the face.

No he did not. In the best imitation of our great President, he implied that someone should punch somebody. Lots of people - the best people - say those fascist guys stop talking when punched. He never said who was to be the puncher. He is sure there are good people on both sides of the punch.


The guy is just stating his opinion - however vile it may be - in the comments section of a news site.

And you call him a fascist and threaten to punch him if you see him? Whats wrong with you? Why do you think this is ok behavior?


you understand that the forcible apprehension of people who are carrying out lawful business is also violence, right?


Though I'd argue that it might not be, that's for another time or place.

I also don't see how that's relevant to the immature and childish response to Fish. Because of what ICE may do, we're allowed to respond that way to differing opinions on an internet message board? Both comments are vile and reprehensible, but one was stating an opinion - albeit an unpopular one - on the piece posted and the other was just an attempt and being edgy and threatening. Imo, one is excusable and the other is not.


When you punch one in the face, they tend to stop talking

See you out there, FISH-y ;-)

Please, just, no, don't threaten violence against other folks here.


Before the ruling, ICE could arrest family, friends, and witnesses who aren't in custody or facing charge "under special circumstances," which my handy legal dictionary tells me means, "whenever we damn please."

After the ruling, ICE is forbidden from doing so.

Also, as Supreme Court Justice Roberts has clearly stated, there's no such thing as "an Obama Judge."


You left out an important "if", which is if ICE believes they're here illegally.

You left out an important "if", which is if ICE believes they're here illegally.

Checking my handy legal dictionary again, if ICE believes they're here illegally is distinct from if they have been duly found to be here illegally, and, once again, means, approximately, whenever we damn please

After reading the threat of violence further up. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

Do you think in six years people will be saying there's no such thing as a Trump judge? I doubt it.

The reason we have confirmation hearings (no matter how pointless the current administration has made them) is so we dont have a king appointing heads of a co-equal branch of government.

I will say (as will the facts) that Trump is winning in the most judicial picks being the least qualified in decades.

So in the future being a "Trump judge" won't just signal their political leanings but also their tenure being a remnant of a very dark time in America.

this is why the aliens are coming. because mankind is a failure.

why theyre staying away...

You want to know what’s violent? Pulling families apart, putting children in cages, and dangerous rhetoric that paints Mexicans and South Americans as being criminals. That’s violent.


Was it violent when past few administrations did it, or just now?

A parent should never put a child in that predicament.


Oh yeah, life is real safe for the families and kids that stay in Central America. /s

Council on Foreign Relations: Central America’s Violent Northern Triangle

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras consistently rank among the most violent countries in the world. El Salvador became the world’s most violent country not at war in 2015, when gang-related violence brought its homicide rate to 103 per hundred thousand. It has since fallen by one third. Nevertheless, all three countries have significantly higher homicide rates than neighboring Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.


I'm tired of people saying past administrations did the same thing. It was rare and it was only in the case where they thought the child's safety was at risk remaining with the parent or adult who accompanied them. What we're seeing now is parents and children being separated as standard procedure, which is totally unacceptable.

But let's play the other side of that coin. What if past administrations had been doing the same thing? Would that make it objectively any more acceptable today? A cruel act is a cruel act, is it not? To use the excuse "well that other person did it too!" is something you'd say to your parents when you got caught misbehaving and tried to justify your bad behavior. And we all know how well that excuse goes over.


did you just discover the internet this week? these talking points are so old

because if you had to be a parent in the Northern Triangle, you'd do anything to get your kids out.

you should try talking to a refugee sometime. I know looking down on them from atop Fox News is easier and more satisfying to your xenophobic gut, but these are human beings.

they didn't do it because it's fun.

A parent should never put a child in that predicament.

When you are fleeing an outlaw state whose government either wont protect you from forces that want to rob, rape, and kill your children or is actually the root of the problem, and you are fleeing towards the border of the country whose branding features the Statue of Liberty and who presents itself as the good guys, tell me again which end of your journey is the "predicament"?