State Supreme Court Rules That Metro Charter Allows Davidson County Sheriff To Perform Immigration Enforcement Duties

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the agreement between the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”), through the Davidson County Sheriff, and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) does not violate the Metro Charter or other state law. 

In 2009, Metro authorized the Sheriff to enter into an agreement with ICE that allowed designated Sheriff’s officers to perform certain immigration officer duties after being trained and certified by ICE. Those duties included interrogating any person believed to be an alien as to his right to be, or remain, in the United States; processing any removable alien or those aliens who have been arrested for violating a federal, state or local offense for immigration violations; serving arrest warrants for immigration violations; and detaining and transporting arrested aliens subject to removal to ICE-approved detention facilities.

The agreement was challenged by plaintiffs Daniel Renteria-Villegas, David Ernesto Gutierrez-Turcios and Rosa Landaverde in a lawsuit seeking compensatory damages and injunctive relief filed in the United States District Court in Nashville against Metro and ICE. Renteria-Villegas and Gutierrez-Turcios alleged that Sherriff’s officers arrested and wrongfully interrogated and detained them while the officers investigated their immigration status and Landaverde alleged that removal proceedings were instituted against her son after he was processed by Sheriff’s officers pursuant to the agreement. The plaintiffs argued that provisions of the Metro Charter precluded the Sheriff’s office from performing the law enforcement duties in the agreement with ICE because, under the Charter, those duties are solely the responsibility of the Chief of Police. The United States District Court certified a question of law regarding the Sheriff’s authority to enter into the agreement to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

on Thursday, the Tennessee Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee, answered the certified question by ruling that neither the Charter nor other state law precludes the Sheriff from performing immigration enforcement duties. Metro had the statutory authority to contract with ICE and authorized the actions of the Sheriff. While the Charter designates the Police Chief as the “principal conservator of the peace,” the Charter does not provide that the Chief is the only conservator of the peace for the Metro government and the Sheriff retained some law enforcement functions under the Charter.

To read the Daniel Renteria-Villegas et al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County et al. opinion authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/renteria-villegasdanielopn.pdf   


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming city council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING a. 2015-085 Valor (O-1 Office Zone to R-4 Special Zone). An ordinance to amend Chattanooga City Code, Part II, Chapter 38, Zoning Ordinance, ... (click for more)

Citizen Input Aids In Identification Of Burglary Suspect In Bradley County

A 31 year-old man was already jailed without bond when new felony counts were filed in an unrelated burglary investigation.   Sheriff Eric Watson said citizen input was helpful identifying Daniel Ray Lee Howard as a suspect in the burglary of a home on Leamington Lane. Household items including electronics, appliances, clothing, and jewelry were taken that the homeowner ... (click for more)

Does The Signal Mountain Town Council Take Its Constituents As Fools?

You've got to hand it to the Signal Mountain Town Council. In their scheme to change the zoning on Signal Mountain from 1/2 an acre to 1/4 an acre they get more creative by the day in coming up with justifications for doing something a majority of their constituents are squarely against.   They started off by hiding behind a poor widow who had fallen on hard times. She had ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Every Child Must Watch This

In the course of my day, I read different websites, am sent all kinds of neat videos and I love the jokes I get. But when I logged onto my ever-bulging email account Thursday morning, I happened across the scariest, most terrifying video I have ever watched. There is a website I check called “Atchuup” that boasts “cool stories daily.” Some are pretty good but this one nearly knocked ... (click for more)

Wrestling Session Sparks Lady 'Canes To Volleyball Win

All season long, East Hamilton volleyball coach Kristy Lenoir has been less than pleased with her team’s lack of emotion on the court. So, to change that Lenoir spent her allotted practice time putting the Lady Hurricanes through one-on-one wrestling matches. Yep, wrestling. “I’ve never had a practice like that one,” Lenoir said Thursday. “We’ve lacked emotion and a desire ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Football Opener: UTC vs. Jax State – Saturday at Finley Stadium; 6 p.m.

Saturday at Finley Stadium at 6 p.m.  it’s No.8 Chattanooga vs. No.7 Jacksonville (Ala.) State in arguably the most anticipated and talked about game in Chattanooga football history. An important region rivalry as a pair of top 10 FCS schools meet for the 39th time in the season opener for both schools. “This should be a great game between two of the best teams in ... (click for more)