This suit, filed on behalf of Colorado resident Luis Quezada, asserts that Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink illegally imprisoned the ACLU’s client for 47 days in 2009 simply because federal immigration authorities suspected that Mr. Quezada was here in violation of federal immigration laws.

In May, 2009, Mr. Quezada was arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Jail for allegedly failing to appear in court on a traffic charge. When he went to court a few days later, on May 26, he was sentenced to time served. He would have been entitled to immediate release, but Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had sent the jail an Immigration Detainer, advising that it was investigating whether Mr. Quezada was violating immigration laws.

As specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, the Immigration Detainer instructs the custodian to hold an inmate an additional 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after the inmate’s applicable release date. The detainer states that its purpose is to provide adequate time for ICE agents to determine whether to take the inmate into federal custody and begin formal deportation proceedings.

When ICE did not arrive within 48 hours, Mr. Quezada was entitled to be released. Instead, the jail continued to deprive Mr. Quezada of his liberty, without legal authority, for an additional 47 days. During that time, Mr. Quezada was in legal limbo, with no formal accusations against him, no opportunity to see a judge, and no opportunity to post bail.

When ICE finally showed up and took Mr. Quezada into immigration custody, the agency formally accused him of being in violation of immigration laws. Mr. Quezada finally had formal notice and the opportunity to post bail. He posted bail and was quickly released during the pendency of his immigration case.

Mr. Quezada seeks compensation from Sheriff Mink for false imprisonment and violation of rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

ACLU case number



Dan Williams; Kirk Neste; Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director; Omar Jadwat, ACLU Immigrants Rights Project; Taylor Pendergrass, ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney; Dan Williams; Kirk Neste; Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director; Oma

Case number

No. 10-CV-00879, United States District Court, District of Colorado