Taylor Fredrickson: County jail defies ACLU
September 25, 2014
To the editor:
I am writing this in regards to the story from Wednesday concerning Moffat County Jail and its decision to continue to do illegal ICE holds even after confirming to the ACLU they would no longer participate in said holds.
For those who are not familiar with the article, the Colorado ACLU has a campaign to stop illegal ICE holds. An illegal ICE hold "refers to a request from ICE to hold a person after being cleared of criminal charges." This is concerning people who are being held by Moffat County Jail, for ICE, because of a contract where Moffat County Jail receives money and funding for doing so. "They're like a second arrest because the person should be released, but the sheriff is holding someone on the basis of the ICE hold," ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. These people have been cleared of all criminal charges and are being held, against their will and without due process. These holds are requests from ICE, not orders. This is a palpable and flagrant violation of the Fifth Amendment.
Our judicial system is being vitiated into something far from which it was intended. The system that was created to protect and serve the people has become nothing more than a revenue machine, which is increasingly evident when you look at the comments made by Sheriff Tim Jantz. "I have a contract to hold them if they ask me to," Jantz said. Jantz went on to say, "They (ICE) pay and provide revenue for this jail. Whether that's wrong or right is for the public to decide." Well Mr. Jantz, I am the public, and I find these remarks and this "contract" absolutely repugnant. I fail to see how there is any debate, whatsoever, about the morality and, for that matter, legality, involved in this. You are holding people for something that they haven't been convicted of or even charged with, and what is this all about? Money. It is black and white. If Moffat County releases these people, they lose their contract, thus losing funding. Why else would they hold them? If these people are suspected of a crime, they need to be charged. That is how the law works. I don't think it is a far stretch to say the reason that they are not being charged is that the Moffat County Sheriff's Office has little to no evidence to do so. Further, I am curious as to why the Moffat County Sheriff's Office replied to the ACLU's letter saying that, "their policies had changed," when, in fact, they had not. So, to conclude, I hold not only my rights but all people's rights in high esteem. I see and read about things like this nearly every day now and it is becoming alarmingly common, and the only way this stops is by people speaking out. I implore all who read this, if you see a problem with this, if you think this is wrong, do something about it. Write letters, make phone calls, do whatever you can. As Sheriff Jantz said, "This is for the public to decide." So decide.