At Least 3 Arrested By ICE Agents Outside Sonoma County Superior Court

February 18, 2020 at 5:02 pm

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — At least three people were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents outside of the Sonoma County Superior Court on Tuesday, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office said.

Sonoma County sheriff Mark Essick confirmed that the sheriff’s office received a call at around 7:45 a.m about a visit by ICE agents to the courthouse.

“The Sheriff’s Office did not collaborate with Homeland Security agents in these courthouse arrests and has strict policies regarding any coordination with ICE,” Essick said.

District attorney Jill Ravitch, public defender Kathleen Pozzi and county counsel Bruce Goldstein condemned the actions of the ICE agents in a statement. Ravitch objected to ICE making arrests in and around courthouses, who “were accessing the court system to seek justice.”

“ICE detention actions have no place in the court building, where they have the effect of scaring away witnesses and victims, and undermines the District Attorney’s Office’s ability to hold the guilty accountable and protect crime victims,” Ravitch previously stated in a letter to former U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.

After that letter, the former acting director of ICE, Thomas D. Homan, responded to Ravitch and said ICE would continue targeted enforcement actions around courthouses. Homan said “courthouses are not sensitive locations under ICE policy.”

Pozzi said such operations by ICE have “no place” in the court building. “The public should know that ICE enforcement affects everyone, including witnesses, victims and those coming to the courthouse on non-serious offenses,” Pozzi said.

Pozzi noted that both sides are disadvantaged when an accused can not appear to answer charges, and indicated that she may demand speedy trials for those detained, which may result in the dismissal of pending criminal cases.

“ICE’s actions are lawless in that their actions are carried out without judicial warrants and violate recently passed state law prohibiting civil arrests at a courthouse.

Rather than protect our community, these immigration arrests undermine our system of justice,” said county counsel Goldstein.