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Malibu Arrest at Center of ACLU Lawsuit Against Sheriff Lee Baca

British filmmaker Duncan Roy, who said he spent nearly three months in L.A. County jails without a chance to post bail, is one of the five plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on behalf of foreigners who claim they were held illegally and denied bail even for minor offenses after being flagged by immigration authorities.

British filmmaker Duncan Roy, who said he spent nearly three months in L.A. County jails without a chance to post bail, is one of the five plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Roy was arrested Nov. 15 in Malibu on suspicion of extortion. He was in the country legally but was identified as a suspected illegal immigrant through a federal program called Secure Communities, which sends the fingerprints of all arrestees through an immigration database.

"It's important that people realize that this could happen to anyone,'' Roy said. "It's not just undocumented immigrants. I'm lucky that I can get out and be heard -- many of the people I met in there can't.''

Sheriff's Department officials rejected Roy's repeated efforts to post $35,000 bail, citing a detention order by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the lawsuit alleges.

The ACLU and other plaintiffs' attorneys contended the bail denials have been a blanket practice by the Sheriff's Department, affecting thousands of people subjected to ICE holds in local jails.

A Baca spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit but told the Los Angeles Times the department does not deny inmates the right to post bail because of ICE holds.

A report by prison expert James Austin cited data from Baca's office indicating that at least 20,000 Los Angeles County inmates, nearly all of them Latino males, were subjected to ICE holds in 2011, The Times reported.

ACLU officials noted that the Sheriff's Department recently sent memos to watch commanders reminding them that inmates subject to ICE holds can post bail.

"We are very pleased LASD has agreed to alter this practice in response to our demand letter, but it never should have been happening in the first place,'' according to Kate Desormeau, staff attorney at the Immigrants' Rights Project of the ACLU.

Jason M October 21, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Welcome to America!
john of arc October 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Lee Baca It is time for you to go home And attend to your vegetation. You have been nurturing a corrupt and violent department.
Valerie Sklarevsky October 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Duncan Ray thank you for signing on to this law suit and bringing focus to what is happening in the jails of America.... and sorry for your troubles....what a nightmare 3 months in jail must have been for you?
Paul Grisanti October 22, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I must be confused. Why to we want someone that ICE wants held released on bail?
Dreamer October 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Notice he was arrested for extortion. One only has to read a few of Mr. Duncans rants on his blog, from his 'porn den' as he calls it, to see he is one of those that sues (and slanders / extorts) to make a living, and an outlet for something to do. I know about this man... He is....... Bad! We should always get our facts. I am certain if you knew all there is to know here your hair would stand on end
Sylvia October 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
because not everyone is a criminal
Sylvia October 22, 2012 at 07:56 PM
he is already 70 years old so hopefully he doesn't have that much time left

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