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Jail immigration lawsuit dismissed in federal court
Arturo Corso
Arturo Corso

A U.S. District Judge dismissed last week a civil action against Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch and Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard regarding a jail immigration policy.

Nicolas Ceballos and Jose Delgado, who were represented by attorney Arturo Corso, were the plaintiffs in a lawsuit regarding the 287(g) program. Hall County entered the program in 2007, which is a local law enforcement partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Corso claimed in his suit that defendants never appear before a judge on their underlying arrests before they are moved through deportation proceedings.

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Clay Fuller issued a report and recommendation June 7, stating that the two defendants did not have standing. Because the two are no longer in Hall County custody, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story dismissed the action for mootness.

“They may have valid claims regarding their current immigration status, but the named defendants lack the authority to grant them relief in that regard,” Story wrote in his July 18 order.

Corso said it is “unfortunate that we’re not ever going to have our day in court on that.” He said he is still going forward with the underlying criminal case and hopes to have the charges dismissed.

“The opinion was supported by substantial precedent and correctly applied such in its order of dismissal,” Hall County attorney Bill Blalock said.

Fuller and Story cited a similar Cobb County case, where the defendants could not show the likelihood of future harm.

“We are constantly on the lookout for people that are being unlawfully detained, and as soon as we discover one, we’re going to bring suit and bring it even faster next time,” Corso said.

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