Federal immigration authorities arrested a man as he entered the Hall of Justice for a court hearing Tuesday, drawing outrage from the local public defender and district attorney.
The man, identified only as a San Francisco resident, was in front of the courthouse steps when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him, according to the Public Defender’s Office.
The incident comes two weeks after ICE arrested at least three people outside a criminal courthouse in Sonoma County, the Public Defender’s Office said.
Public Defender Mano Raju called the arrest a violation of state law since ICE acted without a judicial warrant.
His office cited Assembly Bill 668, which was signed into law last year to ensure undocumented immigrants in California have access to the justice system.
The legislation says, “A person shall not be subject to civil arrest in a courthouse while attending a court proceeding or having legal business in the courthouse” except when an arrest is made under a judicial warrant.
“California law explicitly forbids a civil enforcement agency, including ICE, from making a civil arrest without a warrant outside a courthouse,” Raju said in the statement.
“ICE’s illegal conduct undermines community trust and public safety,” Raju said.
“This type of action scares people—including victims, witnesses, the accused, or those participating in treatment – and deters them from coming to court,” he added.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin also condemned the action.
“ICE actions in or near our courthouses deters people from accessing our justice system, making us all less safe,” Boudin said.
A press conference is scheduled for noon Monday outside the Hall of Justice.