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July 2018

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses DHS Ruling in ICE Prosecution

On July 26, 2018, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arizona restaurant operator, and Gordon & Rees client, Frimmel Management, LLC's, employment records must be suppressed in a case accusing it of hiring illegal immigrants because they were the result of an unconstitutional search by the office of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A unanimous three-judge panel rejected claims by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that Frimmel Management LLC’s employment records were admissible because it launched its own investigation after the 2013 raid. Phoenix attorney Andrew Jacob briefed and argued the case.

As summarized by the Ninth Circuit, “ICE initiated an investigation of Frimmel after the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), under Sheriff Joe Arpaio, conducted illegal raids of two restaurants and the home of Bret Frimmel, owner of Frimmel Management.  MCSO later e-mailed a shift summary to ICE, and issued press releases revealing the results of the raids.”

Specifically the Ninth Circuit found that “MCSO committed an egregious Fourth Amendment violation,” finding at least eight “intentional or reckless” inaccuracies in the search warrant affidavits, and ignored the obvious inference that the complaining witness – who had that day been arrested for stealing from Frimmel – “would lie to police and frame an innocent man, here Frimmel.”

The panel enthusiastically accepted Jacob’s argument that the evidence obtained in the audit must be suppressed as fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree because the audit would not have occurred but for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “flagrant” violation of Fourth Amendment Rights. This ruling will result in vacating an approximate $385,000 judgment against our client (almost entirely for paperwork violations) and it will also lend substantial support to a pending § 1983 claim against Maricopa County.

To read the opinion in full, please click here.

Phoenix co-managing partner, Leon Silver, was interviewed by local media.  Click here and here to read the stories.

This Ninth Circuit Decision comes after several other wins by the Phoenix team.  Click the links to read more: December 2014; January 2015; April 2015