The ACLU of Colorado sued Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell in July, 2018, alleging that he is violating Colorado law by continuing to jail an individual who is eligible for release, at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Leonardo Canseco is charged with two misdemeanors, and the Teller County Court set his bond at $800.   Mr. Canseco has the money to post bond, but when he posts the money, Sheriff Mikesell will not release him.  Instead, the Sheriff plans to honor a detainer request from federal immigraiton authorities, who suspect that Mr. Canseco is removeable from the country.

ICE detainers are not warrants and are not signed by a judicial officer. 

Earlier in 2018, in Cisneros v. Elder, ACLU of Colorado lawyers successfully challenged the legality of holding prisoners on the basis ICE detainer requests.  In that class action lawsuit, ACLU asserted that El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder had unlawfully imprisoned dozens of individuals at the request of ICE.  District Court Judge Eric Bentley issued a preliminary injunction that ordered Sheriff Elder to release two ACLU clients and to stop relying on ICE detainer requests as grounds for refusing to release individuals when they post bond or resolve their criminal cases.

Armed with the arguments that succeeded in neighboring in El Paso County, ACLU lawyers asked the Teller County District Court for an emergency injunctive order to ensure that Mr. Canseco will be released when he posts bail, instead of being held prisoner, illegally, on the basis of the ICE detainer request. 

The Teller court held a hearing on August 15, 2018.  Four days later, the court issued an order denying ACLU’s request for preliminary injunctive relief.

Update:  In late 2018, in Cisneros v. Elder, the El Paso County District Court granted a permanent injunction barring Sheriff Elder from holding persons on ICE detainers.  The following year, Colorado adopted a statute that codified the ruling in the Cisneros case, thus prohibiting all Colorado sheriffs from holding prisoners on the basis of ICE documents that are not signed by a judge.  C.R.S. §§ 24-76.6-101-02. 

Despite that statute, the Teller County Sheriff entered into a 287(g) Agreement with ICE, a program which purports to allow designated Teller sheriff deputies to arrest and detain persons that ICE suspects of immigration violations.  In a subsequent lawsuit, ACLU of Colorado attorneys argue that these arrests and detentions violate Colorado law. 

ACLU press release:



Byeongsook Seo, Stephanie A. Kanan, Mark Silverstein, Arash Jahanian

Case number

2015-02, 16-cv-02540,