Facts Regarding the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Booking Process
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
In an effort to clarify our long standing arrest and booking policies at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center we felt that it was important that the public be made aware of the facts regarding all misdemeanor bookings.
1. Our policy and practice is to book all misdemeanor offenses except traffic violations. For example just in the past 28 days we have booked a total of 64 persons on misdemeanor charges. These changes range from possession of marijuana to theft of a $5.61 item.
2. Regarding the non-booking of a person arrested under Louisiana statute, LA-R.S. 14:100.13 which makes it a felony for “alien students” and “nonresident aliens” to drive while not having documentation proving that their presence in the United States is lawful. Booking a person under this statute was found to be unconstitutional by the Louisiana Court of Appeals, citing in part a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. As a result of the court’s ruling we do not book persons booked under that statute.
3. Our policy in regard to the holding of offenders suspected of not having the proper documentation to be in the country. We have always and will continue to cooperate with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and their programs including the Secure Communities program.
The federal Secure Communities program began in 2008 and ended in 2014. The program allowed ICE to request that local police keep persons in custody for a period of 48 hours, who may also be suspected of being in the country without proper immigration documentation.
The continued detention period was intended to give ICE agents time to take possession of suspected undocumented arrestees for possible deportation. It included the holding of persons arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses, even after a bond had been paid or the person had been cleared by a judge for release on bail.
While this program was in effect, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office complied with the program, even though, very often after being notified, possible suspects were never taken into ICE custody leaving them incarcerated an additional two days without cause and at local tax payer expense
The Secure Communities program was discontinued by ICE in 2014 after a U.S. Magistrate ruled that detention based purely on suspicion of a person’s immigration status was illegal as it would be for any crime. As a result of this ruling, jails holding individuals without evidence of probable cause for imprisonment was unlawful, making ICE Secure Communities program a liability. The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office sought and received legal advice that concurred.
Due to the federal court action, the Secure Communities program was replaced by Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in July 2015. The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office today is fully compliant with that program except for the blanket acceptance of 48 voluntary hold requests, due to the same liability issue.
As with all of our policies including our booking policy they are continually reviewed based on public safety, prevailing law, liability exposure and best practices among leading law enforcement agencies.