PHOENIX — An appeals court has thrown out a voter-approved law in Arizona that denies bail to immigrants who are in the country illegally and have been charged with a range of felonies that include shoplifting, aggravated identity theft, sexual assault and murder.
An 11-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the law violates due-process rights by imposing punishment before trial.
Proponents of the 2006 law say the statute prevents people who aren’t authorized to be in the country and skip out on their bail from committing future offenses.
Critics say the law’s real intent is to punish immigrants before they have been convicted of crimes.
The law was approved with 78 percent of the vote and was among four immigration proposals approved by Arizonans in 2006.