Judge rules Bologna family can sue S.F. in state court

The surviving family members of a man and his two sons who were allegedly shot dead last year by an illegal immigrant can sue The City in state court, a federal judge ruled.

Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, were gunned down as they sat in their car at an intersection near their home in the Excelsior district June 22, 2008.

A lawsuit claims The City contributed to the deaths of Danielle Bologna’s husband, Anthony Bologna, and two of their sons, through its sanctuary city policy.

It alleges that Edwin Ramos, 22, the man accused of murdering the three, was in the country illegally and had contacts with police as a juvenile, but was not reported by city officials to federal authorities because of The City’s former sanctuary city policy. Ramos was arrested twice as a minor. Instead of being turned over to immigration authorities, he was sent to shelters.

Ramos, of El Sobrante, a native of El Salvador and a suspected member of the MS-13 gang, is awaiting trial on three counts of murder.

Danielle Bologna and her two surviving children originally filed the civil lawsuit in Superior Court in April, but lawyers for The City moved it to federal court in May because it included claims of violations of federal constitutional rights.

Federal Judge Susan Illston rejected the Bologna family’s claim that The City’s actions violated the shooting victims’ constitutional right to due process. She ruled Friday, however, that Bologna’s widow and daughter can go to state court with a lawsuit alleging The City is to blame for the death of their family members for failing to hand Ramos over to immigration authorities.

Matthew Davis, a lawyer for the Bologna family, said he thinks the lawsuit is now in the appropriate court.

The Superior Court “is the court that we think should decide” the case, he said.

The Ramos case has also become a flash point in city politics.

After the murder of the Bolognas, Mayor Gavin Newsom pushed for the sanctuary city policy to be changed so that illegal immigrant youths who are arrested for felonies are turned over to federal immigration officials.

Supervisor David Campos recently introduced legislation that would alter that new policy so illegal immigrant youths would be turned over only after being convicted of felonies.

The mayor has opposed that change.

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