A Judge’s ruling in favor of Huntington Beach, California is a victory for ‘charter’ cities throughout the state. Several communities were furious with Sacramento’s oppressive sanctuary policies that prevent local police from holding illegal alien criminals in detention until Immigration and Customs Enforcement can claim them.
This is why we have a Constitution, the judge points out, it protects the cities from “the ever-extending tentacles of state rule.” State Senate leader Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) wrote Senate Bill 54, which prohibits state and local police agencies from notifying federal officials about the impending release of immigrants in custody who may be deported.
After a heated courtroom battle that raged for hours in Judge James Crandall’s courtroom, 120 more California cities including Los Angeles and San Diego can immediately ignore the SB 54 “sanctuary” law. At least until the appeals go through.
California’s solid blue Legislature crafted the measure to “protect immigrants from the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up deportations,” Sun Herald writes. “The measure limits when police can collaborate with federal immigration agents in an effort to encourage immigrants to report crimes without fearing deportation.”
The local governments were furious, blasting the liberal law as “a public safety threat.” Police, they assert, “shouldn’t release immigrants convicted of crimes and subject to deportation back into local communities.”
Crandall began by mentioning that “he found the opposing attorneys’ briefs ‘stimulating, in fact, invigorating’ and realized “this is a very important case with significant implications.”
Observers noticed that early on in the hearing, Crandall appeared to be siding with the city. Referring to “parts of the state constitution that grant charter cities a degree of autonomy,” he said, “laws are protections for the little guy, in this case, the city,” Mercury News reports.
Crandall agreed with the attorney for Huntington Beach, Michael Gates, that applying the law to charter cities is unconstitutional, because the voters specified differently in the charter.
“The operation of a police department and its jail is a city affair,” Crandall explained. “For the state to say one size fits all for policing isn’t going to fit everybody.”
The sanctuary bill “infringes on local governments’ authority to practice policies they know are appropriate for themselves,” Judge Crandall notes. Cities, he insists, have a “better view and better ability” to manage their needs.
California’s 121 charter cities gained that designation by citizen vote, giving them tighter control over “municipal affairs” but the state constitution overrides the charter for matters of “statewide concern.”
The state’s prosecutor, California Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Eisenberg, expressed the “important need” for a “uniform” statewide sanctuary policy.
To back up his position, Eisenberg relied on the opinion of a law professor who “suggested that if police officials lose the trust of immigrant communities, people in those areas would avoid police and stop reporting crime, possibly resulting in an increase in crime.”
Judge Crandall wasn’t buying that for a minute. “violent crime is already up in the state,” he declared. He also remarked that he “would rather rely on the opinions of local police than a law professor who may not be familiar with a city like Huntington Beach.”
“Telling our local police what they should be doing, or need to be doing, or not to do as relates to their work in the field by the state is a tremendous overreach.” Gates argued back.
The biggest dispute centered around two “subsections” of Section 5, Article 11, regarding the constitutional definition of charter powers. Subsection A says that charter cities can “be subject to general laws.”
The Court agreed that may be true but Subsection B spells out “four areas over which a charter may bestow control,” and “government of the police force” is one of them.
During the hearing, attorney Eisenberg asserted that local police “can still communicate with immigration officials regarding serious crimes under SB 54.” Crandall snapped back, “you haven’t tied their hands and feet, you’ve just taped their mouths.”
More than once during the proceedings, Judge Crandall acknowledged that Huntington Beach’s Police Chief, Robert Handy was present in the courtroom. After banging his gavel on the ruling that frees the city from enforcing SB 54 for now, Crandall stated, “I think Chief Handy wants to get out there and do his good police work as soon as possible.”
Following the hearing, a reporter asked Chief Handy what he would say to the dozens of Latinos who “voiced concerns at a town hall meeting following President Trump’s executive order calling for a more aggressive approach to finding and arresting people who are in the country illegally.”
Handy replied he would “ask them to rely on the trust already built among police officers and the community and ignore rhetoric in politics and the media.”
“It would go, first of all, to the intermediate appellate level in California, the California Court of Appeal, so the loser, the State of California is going to go to them and say, ‘Please, correct this egregious error the Superior Court just made in Orange County.’”
Ultra-liberal Attorney General Xavier Becerra promises to keep fighting to ensure every square inch of the state is under Sanctuary protection. “Preserving the safety and constitutional rights of all our people is a statewide imperative which cannot be undermined by contrary local rules.”
What most people fail to notice is that Becerra wants to preserve the safety and rights of criminals in this country illegally, with no constitutional protections, at the expense of the safety and bona fide constitutional rights of American citizens.
Migrants from other countries who follow the rules are outraged that after paying the enormous fees and jumping through the flaming hoops required to obtain valid citizenship, they have less rights than those who skip the line entirely, don’t pay a cent, obscure their identities and hide in the shadows.
When the criminals get preferential treatment, why bother obeying laws?