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Vallario ACLU FINAL W-Attachments 5-2-2012

Vallario ACLU FINAL W-Attachments 5-2-2012

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ACLU
AMERICANCIVILLIBERTIESUNION
of
COLORADO
StephenMeswarb,Co-ActingExecutiveDirectorMarkSilverstein,LegalDirector,Co-ActingExecutiveDirector
May2,2012ViaU.S.MailSheriffLouVallarioGarfieldCountySheriffsOffice1078thStreetGlenwoodSprings,CO81601DearSheriffVallario,WearewritingtoinformyouofaconcerningpracticeintheGarfieldCountySheriffsDepartment(GCSD)ofwhichyoumaynotbeaware-employeesofGCSDareperhapsunwittinglyreferringvictimsofdomesticviolencetoUnitedStatesImmigrationandCustomsEnforcement(ICE),sometimesresultinginthoseindividualsbeingplacedindeportationproceedingssimplybecausetheychosetoreportactsofdomesticviolencetolawenforcement.ReferralstoICEundersuchcircumstancesareoutofstepwithColoradolaw.Ofperhapsgreaterconcernisthatsuchapracticecreatesastrongandperversedisincentiveforundocumentedvictimsandwitnessesofdomesticviolencetoreporttheabusetolawenforcement.This,intum,robslawenforcementoftheabilitytoproperlyinvestigateandprosecutedomesticviolenceandrelatedcrimes,creatingawidegapinthesafetynetofcriminaljusticeprosecution.Bythisletter,theAmericanCivilLibertiesUnionofColorado(ACLU)andtheColoradoCoalitionAgainstDomesticViolence(CCADV)requestthatGCSDputanimmediateendtothisharmfulpractice,andweextendanoffertocollaboratewithGCSDtomeetthisgoal.Asyouareaware,enforcementofdomesticviolencelawsreliesheavilyonself-reportingbyvictims.Thisisbecausedomesticviolenceprimarilyoccurswithinthecontextofanintimatepartnerrelationship.Unfortunately,domesticviolencevictimsreporttheirabusersfarlessoftenthanvictimsofother(non-domestic)violence.
I
Further,undocumentedimmigrants,whoareentitledtothesameprotectionfromillegaldomesticviolenceasanyotherindividualpresentwithinGCSDjurisdiction,areoftenevenmorehesitanttoreportforfearthatinteractionwiththelawenforcementwillresultintheirarrestandultimatedeportation.'Asyoulikelyknow,victimsofdomesticviolencearesometimesmistakenlyarrestedondomesticviolencecharges.Therearemanywaysinwhichvictimsofdomesticviolencebecome
I
U.S.DepartmentofJustice,BureauofJusticeStatistics,"CriminalVictimization,"2003.
2
Abusersoftentakeadvantageofthisfearanduseitasleveragetoforcethevictimtokeepquietandstayintherelationship.LeslyeOrloff
&
JaniceV.Kaguyutan,
OfferingaHelpingHand:LegalProtectionsforBatteredImmigrantWomen:AHistoryofLegislativeResponses,
10Am.U.J.GenderSoc.Pol'y&L.95,98-99(2002).Sowhileallvictimsofdomesticviolencehavedisincentivestoreportabuse,thosewhoareundocumentedimmigrantsmaybeamongtheleastlikelytoreport.
303E.17'hAvenue,Suite350
*
Denver,CO80203
*
720.402.3104
*
FAX303.777.1773
*
ACLUorColorado...BecauseFreedomCan'tProtectItself
 
entangledwiththecriminaljusticesystem.Often,abuserswillreporttheirvictimstothepoliceinanefforttofurthervictimizethem.Self-defendingvictimsaresometimesarrestedasthe"primaryaggressor,"thoughtheyarenottheactualperpetratoror"predominantaggressor"intherelationship,orarecaughtupindualarrestswhenlawenforcementareunabletoascertainwhothe"predominantaggressor"is.ImmigrationandCustomsEnforcementhasrepeatedlyrecognizedtheproblemofvictimarrestsindomesticviolencecasesandfoundthatvictimarrestsmay"deter[]individualsfromreportingcrimesandfrompursuingactionstoprotecttheircivilrights[.]"MemorandumfromJohnMorton,Director,U.S.ImmigrationCustomsandEnforcement,onProsecutorialDiscretionandCertainVictims(June17,2011).WerecognizethatpursuanttoSenateBill90(SB-90),GCSDmustnotifyICEwhenitreasonablybelievesthatcertainarresteesarenotlegallypresentinthecountry.Colo.Rev.Stat.§29-29-103(2)(a)(I).However,giventherealitythatdomesticviolencevictimsaresometimesarrested,automaticreportingofallapparentlyundocumentedarresteestoICEwithoutexceptionwillinevitablyresultindomesticviolencevictimsbeingreportedtoICEduetotheircontactwithpolice.'Toavoidthisresult,SB-90providesforsheriffstorefrainfromreportingadomesticviolencearresteetoICEunlessanduntilthatindividualisconvicted.C.R.S.§29-29-103(2)(a)(II)(anindividualarrestedfordomesticviolenceisnottobereportedtoICE"untilsuchtimeasthearresteeis
convicted
ofadomesticviolenceoffense"(emphasisadded)).TheColoradolegislaturetookpainstocarveoutthisexceptiontothearresteereportingrequirementinordertomitigatetherepeatedly-expressedconcernthatSB-90mightdeterundocumentedvictimsofdomesticviolencefromreportingand/orcooperatingwiththecriminaljusticesystemafterareportduetofearofdeportationasaconsequenceofdoing
SO.4
Importantly,Colorado'sStateAuditorhasmadeclearitsviewthatadherencetoSB-90'sdomesticviolenceexceptionismandatory,statingthattheexception"stipulatesthatillegalimmigrantsarrestedforasuspectedactofdomesticviolenceare
not
tobereportedtoICEuntilconviction."ColoradoOfficeoftheStateAuditor,
ImplementationofSenateBill06-090PerformanceAudit,
p.5(May2009)(emphasisinoriginal).RegardlessofwhetherstatelawrequirescompliancewithSB-90'sdomesticviolenceexception,refrainingfromreferringdomesticviolencevictimstoICEistherightthingtodoforvictims,lawenforcement,andthecommunityatlarge.Unfortunately,ourinvestigationintothismatterhasrevealedthatGCSDemployeesoften,ifnotalways,automaticallyreportdomesticviolencearresteeswhotheysuspectmaybeundocumentedtoICE,withoutwaitingtoseeiftheindividualisconvictedofthatcrime.TheACLUhasinterviewedandreviewedtherecordsofundocumentedwomenwhowerethevictimsofseriousdomesticviolence,reportedthecrimetolawenforcement,werearrestedondomesticviolencecharges,andwerebookedintotheGarfieldCountyJail.Ineachcase,GCSDemployeespromptlyreportedthevictimstoICEwithoutwaitingtoseeiftheindividualswereconvictedofanyofthechargesagainstthem.Infact,afterreferraltoICE,
all
chargesagainstthesevictimsweredismissed.Nonetheless,becauseofGCSD'sprematurereferralofthesevictimstoICE,eachofthemwasplacedinremovalproceedings,sendingastrongsignaltothefriends,familyandcommunityofthosevictimsthatdeportationisapotentialconsequenceofreportingdomesticviolencetolawenforcement.Thissignalhasthepredictableeffectof
3
HearingonSB06-090Beforethe
H.
Comm.onState,Veterans,
&
MilitaryAffairs,
Gen.Assem.Leg.Sess.,(Colo.2006)(April4,2006,Hearing,beginningat46:39).
4
I
d.
Page2of4
 
deterringundocumentedpeoplefromcontactingthepolicetoreportcrimesofdomesticviolenceanddiminishingthegoodwilltowardspeaceofficersthatundoubtedlyGCSDwishestofosterwiththesubstantialimmigrantcommunityintheRoaringForkValley.Further,asyoulikelyknow,whendomesticviolenceoccursinahome,childabuseoftenalsooccursinthathorne.'Accordingly,whenundocumenteddomesticvictimsdonotreporttheirabuser,lawenforcementnotonlylosestheopportunitytoenforcelawsagainstdomesticviolence,butalso,potentially,theopportunitytoputchildabusersbehindbars.WeareconfidentthatGCSDcanseeeyetoeyeonthisissuewiththeACLUandCCADV-thatwecanallagreedomesticviolencevictimsshouldnotfearthatreportingdomesticviolencetolawenforcementmayleadtotheirdeportation.WehopeandbelievethatyouwillbeamenabletoendingthispracticegiventhatyouhaveinthepastmadeclearthatGCSDseekstoprotect,nottopunish,victimsofcrime,includingdomesticviolencevictims.Inparticular,weunderstandthatGCSDistheonlylawenforcementagencyinyourareathatsignsoffonU-Visasforundocumentedvictimsofcrime.Asyouknow,issuanceofthesevisasencouragesthereportingofcrimesandcooperationintheirprosecutionbyundocumentedvictims,therebybenefitinglawenforcementandthesafetyofthecommunityasawhole.Importantly,webelievethatGCSDcaneffectivelyandefficientlyimplementthedomesticviolenceexceptiontoSB-90.Bywayofexample,attachedheretoarethepolicies,proceduresandformsutilizedbytheSummitCountySheriffsDepartmenttoensurecompliancewithSB-90'sdomesticviolencereportingexception.
SeeAttachmentA.
Othercountieshavefoundalternativewaystocomplywiththeexception.Throughthecourseofourinvestigationofthismatter,wecametospeakwithrepresentativesfromothercounties,likeGCSD,thatwereoutofcompliancewithSB-90'sdomesticviolenceexception.Wediscussedwhythisexceptionissoessentialforeffectivelawenforcementandweregratifiedthatseveralcountiesreadilychangedtheirpoliciestobringtheircountyincompliancewiththeexception,therebypromotingtrustbetweenimmigrantcommunitiesandlawenforcement.Forinstance,attachedyouwillfindtherecentdirectiveissuedbyMesaCountySheriffsOfficebringingthecountyin-linewithSB-90'sdomesticviolenceexception.
SeeAttachmentB.
Insum,weareconfidenttherearemanywaystosuccessfullyimplementthedomesticviolencereportingexceptiontoSB-90,andwewouldbehappytoworkcollaborativelywithyoutodevelopaneffectivesystemshouldyousodesire.Welookforwardtohearingbackfromyouonthismatterby
May14,2012,
toconfirmthatGCSDisreadytopromptlyinstitutepoliciesandprocedurestocomplywiththedomesticviolenceexceptionofSB-90.PleasedonothesitatetocontacttheACLUtodiscussthismatterfurther.
5
DeGue,S.,&DiLillo,D,
IsAnimalCrueltya"RedFlag"forFamilyViolence?InvestigatingCo-occurringViolenceTowardChildren,PartnersandPets,
JournalofInterpersonalViolence,24(6),1036-1056(2009);JoyD.Osofsky,
PrevalenceofChildren'sExposuretoDomesticViolenceandChildMaltreatment:ImplicationsforPreventionandIntervention,
6ClinicalChild&Faro.Psych.Rev.161,166(2003);Appel,A.E.,&Holden,G.W.,
Co-occurringSpouseandChildAbuse:ImplicationsforCPSPractice,
APSACAdvisor,11(1),11-14(1998).
Page3of4

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