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Special Order 40 Survives in Court

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The local ordinance known as "Special Order 40" that bars police officers in L.A. from checking immigrant status in typical crime investigations is upheld in a state appellate court.

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The idea behind Special Order 40 is that it makes for a smoother and healthier relationship between local police and local communities if people who are, say, reporting or helping out with criminal investigations don't have to fear legal repercussions based on their immigration status everytime they choose to talk to police.

Details from the L..A. Daily News:

A state appellate court Wednesday upheld the validity of the LAPD's Special Order 40...In affirming a lower-court ruling, the three-judge panel said the 30-year-old order strikes the appropriate balance between immigrants' rights to equal protection and the Los Angeles Police Department's need to protect communities.

In 2006, a conservative organization and a Los Angeles resident filed suit to challenge Special Order 40, saying it violates federal immigration law and asking the court to prevent the use of taxpayer money to enforce the order.

The American Civil Liberties Union...lauded the ruling by the California Court of Appeals. "Immigrants in Los Angeles no longer have to worry that they will be forced to choose between personal safety and their future," ACLU attorney Belinda Escobar Helzer said....

Former Chief Daryl F. Gates adopted Special Order 40....It has been supported by every chief since then, including Chief Bill Bratton.

The conservative legal organization Judicial Watch, behind the anti-Special Order 40 lawsuit, tries to make their case, and gathers many of the legal filings.

The California Court of Appeals decision can be found here.

I wrote about the initial filing of this suit for Reason magazine back in 2007. And back in April 2005, I defended Special Order 40 on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Sohum. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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