First Circuit Deals Blow to Mandatory Detention Ruling
Gordon v. Lynch, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 20842 (1st Cir. Mass. Nov. 21, 2016)
Last week, the First Circuit dealt a blow to a class action in Massachusetts over mandatory detention. The Court vacated a finding that the detention provision only applies to immigrants detained within 48 hours of criminal release and that certain immigrants deserve bond hearings. Specifically, it vacated the district court’s remedial order granting summary judgment, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief, holding that a class-wide bright line rule of a mere forty-eight hours, with no mention of an alien’s potential culpability for delay, is inconsistent with the reasoning and logic of Castaneda v. Souza, a landmark case on mandatory detention.
Castaneda first addressed the issue concerning the interpretation of section 1226(c). While Castaneda was still on appeal, the district court in Gordon issued two orders. The first issued certified a class of present and future detainees who had committed or would commit serious crimes. In the second order (“the remedial order”) the district court granted summary judgment to the class and issued declaratory and injunctive relief, ordering the Government to cease and desist subjecting current and future class members, aliens not detained within forty-eight hours of release from custody, to mandatory detention. The case then went to the First Circuit on appeal and the First Circuit put the case on hold pending its decision in Castaneda.
The First Circuit Court in Castaneda ended up evenly divided over the question of whether the “when…released” clause in 8 U.S.C. 1226(c)(1) limits the scope of section 1226(c)(2). The result of the deadlock was the affirmance of the district court judgments in Castaneda finding unreasonable the government’s years-long delay in detaining two specific petitioners. The First Circuit in Gordon then vacated the district court’s remedial order, holding that a class-wide bright line rule of a mere forty-eight hours, with no mention of an alien’s potential culpability for delay, is inconsistent with the reasoning and logic of Castaneda.
For reference to 8 U.S.C. 1226(c)(1) and 1226(c)(2), please click here:
To see the First Circuit opinion in Gordon, please click here: