ACLU sues Teller County sheriff

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Teller County sheriff on allegations of illegally holding a prisoner at the behest of ICE.

According to the civil rights organization, Colorado sheriffs do not have the authority to enforce federal immigration law, and therefore says Sheriff Jason Mikesell must allow Leonardo Canseco to bond out.

Canseco has been charged with two misdemeanors and has an $800 bond.

"Being present in the country in violation of the immigration laws is a civil matter, not a crime," the ACLU said in a statement Monday. "When Mr. Canseco posts his $800 bond for his minor misdemeanor charges, Colorado law requires the Sheriff to release him. Instead, at ICE’s request, the Sheriff plans to keep him in jail, without a warrant, without probable cause of a crime, and without any other valid legal authority."

A judge sided with the ACLU earlier this year when he ordered El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder to stop holding immigrants at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Elder was told that if the person in question posts bond, the sheriff's office has no grounds to keep them in custody.

The ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to that effect to all the state's sheriffs in 2014, which can be read here, which was backed by the County Sheriffs of Colorado organization.

"Colorado law is clear that sheriffs cannot hold prisoners for ICE based on a detainer request,” Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian said in the statement. “The statewide sheriff’s organization got it right, and then Judge Bentley correctly ruled that Sheriff Elder had to release our clients from the El Paso County Jail when they posted bond. Now, we’re asking a court to order Sheriff Mikesell to let Mr. Canseco out of the Teller County Jail when he posts bond. State law requires it.”