Saturday, April 9, 2011

Appeals board wants judge to consider bias claim (AP c/o Westport News)

Appeals board wants judge to consider bias claim
Updated 05:02 a.m., Saturday, April 9, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville man originally from Honduras is claiming deportation proceedings against him are invalid because the traffic stop that originally landed him in jail was motivated by anti-Hispanic bias.

A Memphis immigration judge initially dismissed Jose Quinteros' argument, but last week a panel of the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, located in Falls Creek, Va., ordered the judge to reconsider.

According to the ruling, "The Immigration Judge found that there was conflicting evidence concerning the reason for the initial traffic stop of the respondent in this case."

The Metro Nashville officer claimed he stopped Quinteros because an electronic database said the man's car registration had expired. But Quinteros submitted evidence that his license plate and registration were current on the day of his arrest, April 25, 2007.

According to Quinteros' account of events, recorded in court papers, he was walking to his car after work when he noticed the officer staring at him. He got in the car, checked his lights to make sure they were working and drove off. The officer followed him and pulled him over, Quinteros maintains.

Immigration attorney Sean Lewis argues in court papers that the officer really pulled Quinteros over because of anti-Hispanic bias. Lewis argues that makes the arrest illegal and the judge should, therefore, suppress statements Quinteros made at the jail to Davidson County Sheriff's deputies who were acting as immigration agents under the federal 287(g) program. Those statements led to Quinteros being placed in deportation proceedings. According to court documents, he has been in the U.S. since 2003.

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