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NJ Sup. Ct. on Pretrial Release, ICE Holds: State v. Molchor, Rios, Lopez-Carrera

March 31, 2021 (1 min read)

State v. Molchor, Rios, Lopez-Carrerra

"Here, the question before the Court affects a relatively small number of cases. All of them involve individuals who would not otherwise be detained as high-risk defendants. In other words, the cases involve people whose own behavior and history do not present a serious risk of non-appearance, danger, or obstruction. Individuals would be detained solely because of their immigration status and the risk ICE might remove them -- a risk that is difficult to measure because removal decisions are highly discretionary and involve complex legal issues. ... We agree with the Appellate Division that the language of the Act, coupled with its history, does not authorize judges to detain defendants to thwart their possible removal by ICE. We therefore affirm the judgment of the Appellate Division. ... A group of fifty immigration law scholars and clinical professors (Professors), and a second group of twenty-five former immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeals (Former Judges), submitted comprehensive overviews of the immigration process. They highlight the complex, dynamic, and discretionary nature of the removal process and argue that state trial courts are ill-equipped to evaluate a defendant’s likelihood of removal, which is too speculative even for experts to predict. They submit that a civil immigration detainer, like an individual’s immigration status, is not a reliable indicator that a person will be removed from the country."