NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice to ICE: Stay Out of Courthouses

NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice to ICE: Stay Out of Courthouses

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, Apr. 19, 2017 - "In recent weeks, agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency arrested two individuals who showed up for court appearances in state court. As Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and the administrative head of the state court system, I write to urge that arrests of this type not take place in courthouses. ... A true system of justice must have the public's confidence. When individuals fear that they will be arrested for a civil immigration violation if they set foot in a courthouse, serious consequences are likely to follow. Witnesses to violent crimes may decide to stay away from court and remain silent. Victims of domestic violence and other offenses may choose not to testify against their attackers. Children and families in need of court assistance may likewise avoid the courthouse. And defendants in state criminal matters may simply not appear. To ensure the effectiveness of our system of justice, courthouses must be viewed as a safe forum. Enforcement actions by ICE agents inside comihouses would produce the opposite result and effectively deny access to the courts."