4th Circuit revives, narrows race bias lawsuit

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has revived but narrowed the scope of a lawsuit by a Salvadoran woman who was arrested in Maryland on an immigration warrant.

Roxana Santos claimed her 2008 arrest violated the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. A judge disagreed and dismissed her complaint against the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, the sheriff and two deputies, who were sued in their individual and official capacities.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said Wednesday that the arrest was unconstitutional, but the defendants could not be sued in their individual capacities because the incident occurred before courts established that local officers cannot detain a person based on a civil immigration warrant. However, the court said that immunity does not apply to official-capacity claims.

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