Determining What is Considered a “Violent” Offense in Oklahoma

Although it may seem easy to determine what should be considered a “violent” crime – murder, assault, battery, armed robbery, child abuse, and the list goes on – many people are misinformed on what constitutes a violent crime or offense in Oklahoma. It’s also often difficult to discern what happens when someone is convicted of a violent crime in the state. 

This article sheds some light on what, exactly, is considered a violent crime or offense, and what punishments those convicted of a violent crime may expect. Although there is no definitive answers to many of these questions, having background knowledge can help you understand these crimes and how to find an attorney to help your case.


Violent Crimes Under Oklahoma Law

A large aspect of violent crimes that many people are misinformed about is the difference between a per se violent crime, and a crime that can lead to registration on the Violent Offender Registry. 

Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma statutes provides a list of crimes that are considered violent by their very nature. The list is too extensive to be listed here (there are over 50 of them), but the list is inclusive meaning if it’s not on the list, it’s not considered a violent crime. While many include the more obvious offenses mentioned above (murder, assault, etc.), there are many such as aggravated drug trafficking that may not be as obvious. 

Although the list in Section 571 is extensive, the list of violent crimes that require registration on the Violent Offender Registry is limited to the following 10 crimes:

  1. First degree murder;  
  2. Second degree murder as provided for in Section 701.8 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes;  
  3. manslaughter in the first degree;  
  4. shooting or discharging a firearm with intent to kill;  
  5. use of a vehicle to facilitate the intentional discharge of a firearm, crossbow or other weapon;  
  6. assault, battery, or assault and battery with a deadly weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm 
  7. assault with intent to kill;  
  8. bombing;  
  9. abuse, when determined necessary by the sentencing judge; and  
  10. any crime or attempt to commit a crime constituting a substantially similar offense listed above which is adjudicated by any court of another state, the United States, a tribal court, or a military court.  


Possible Sentences and “85% Crimes”

As with most laws in the state of Oklahoma, sentencing for many violent crimes can vary dramatically. However, there are two main consequences that may result from a conviction of a violent crime: 

  1. A conviction of a violent crime will not be eligible for parole granted solely by the Pardon and Parole Board. The Board can merely recommend parole, but it is the Governor’s ultimate decision. 
  2. A conviction of a violent crime is not eligible for expungement under Oklahoma law. This means that the best one can hope for in this instance would be for the Board to recommend parole, and the Governor to grant it. 


Aside from these significant consequences, it can be difficult to provide definitive answers on prison sentences or other punishments for convictions of violent crimes. Some offenders may earn credit for “good-time” served, and others may be looked at favorably or disfavorably by the Parole Board or Governor. This is true unless the crime committed was an “85% crime”.

An “85% crime” in Oklahoma require all people convicted of these crimes to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole. Moreover, they are not eligible for “good-time” credit or any other type of credits that may have the effect of reducing the length of their sentence to less than 85% of the original punishment. 

In Oklahoma there are a number of crimes that may be considered violent, including many that may not even seem violent on their face. These crimes can carry lengthy sentences, a number of different forms of punishment, and some are not eligible for parole or lighter sentences for any reason. 

Due to the seriousness of these offenses and the harsh punishments that come with them, it’s extremely important to have an experienced and qualified attorney on your side that knows the nuances and complexities of Oklahoma criminal law. 

How Does Civil Asset Forfeiture Work in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s civil asset forfeiture policies empower law enforcement to seize cash as well as property.  As long as law enforcement believes the money or property in question might be tied to criminal activity, these officials can confiscate it with ease.  The state insists civil asset seizure is the best way to stop drug trafficking and prevent drug dealers from using illegally-obtained funds amidst a pending court case.  


Why There is a Growing Backlash Against Civil Asset Forfeiture

Unfortunately, law enforcement sometimes abuses civil asset forfeiture by seizing assets that were obtained in a perfectly legal manner.  In fact, law enforcement has seized money and property before individuals are convicted of a crime or even charged with a crime. The bottom line is civil asset forfeiture is a way for law enforcement to take significant amounts of property and cash from everyday people.  In some cases, law enforcement ends up selling seized assets and keeping a portion of the profits. Such transactions are referred to as policing for profit.


Oklahoma’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

Oklahoma law enforcement is required to present proof in the form of preponderance of evidence that the individual in question has obtained money or property in connection with a crime.  Oklahoma law enforcement agencies are permitted to retain 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of seized assets.

It is particularly interesting to note Attorney General Jeff Sessions re-initiated the federal program referred to as the Equitable Sharing Program.  This program empowers local and state law enforcement agencies to work with federal agencies to take assets from people and transfer the seized property or cash to the federal government.  This process allows local agencies to sidestep state level regulations meant to discourage excessive forfeitures. The Equitable Sharing Program empowers the federal government to take all of the seized funds, send 80% to the state agency and make a tidy profit.

The Sooner State’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws are Heavily Criticized

Oklahoma’s civil asset forfeiture laws are viewed quite negatively compared to those of other states simply because the Sooner state has such a low bar for forfeiture.  There is no need to obtain a conviction before seizing assets. Those who are innocent can have their property and cashed seized as there are few legal protections in place to protect third-party property owners.  The majority of people agree Oklahoma’s state-friendly civil forfeiture laws should be reformed.


Oklahoma Civil Asset Forfeiture by the Numbers

All in all, law enforcement agencies throughout Oklahoma seized $99 million between 2000 and 2014, the vast majority of which was cash as opposed to property.  The Sooner state ranks in the top 20 of all states for federal forfeiture. The state received nearly $60 million between 2000 and 2013 from the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing proceeds.  It is quite shocking to learn the average value of such adopted assets was about $134,000. This figure is six times that of the average value of assets seized. It appears as though Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have requested such adoptions for especially valuable cases that would have proven challenging to process at the local or state levels.


Civil Asset Forfeiture Requires the Assistance of an Attorney

It is up to the accused individual to prove he or she has nothing to do with the alleged crime and the property in question is not related to any sort of criminal activity.  This challenge is not easy. If your money or property is seized, you need the assistance of a civil asset forfeiture attorney to clear your name and obtain the property or money you worked so had to obtain.  

Do not assume you will eventually receive your property back following its seizure.  The state of Oklahoma provides minimal, if any, transparency during the civil asset forfeiture process.  If your property or cash has been seized, there is a good chance you will never receive it back unless you hire a civil asset forfeiture attorney.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you reacquire your property and restore your good name.


What is Drug Court in Oklahoma?

Drug addiction is defined as a disease by almost all medical professionals and medical associations, including the American Medical Association. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, it’s treated as a crime instead of a public health crisis.

In Oklahoma, however, there is some relief through the courts if you have been convicted of certain drug charges. Read on to find out more about drug court and what to do if you’ve been charged with a drug crime.

What is drug court in Oklahoma?

Adult drug court programs in Oklahoma give non-violent felony drug offenders the chance to choose a treatment program instead of jail time. People who choose to take part in the program are monitored through frequent alcohol and drug testing to encourage total abstinence from drugs. The treatment program is highly structured with well-defined treatment goals and offers incentives for those who succeed in the program.

In general, jailing participants who test positive for drugs or alcohol isn’t the standard punishment in drug court. Usually, drug courts use more lenient penalties first before sending an offender to jail, unless the participant poses an immediate risk to public safety.

Does drug court work?

Oklahoma has seen much success with its drug court programs. According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse services, drug court is available in 73 out of 77 counties in the state.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • It costs, on average, $19,000 a year to incarcerate someone in Oklahoma. But the average cost the state incurs for drug court participants is only $5,000 a year.
  • Drug court graduates have much lower recidivism rates than non-drug court offenders.
  • Drug court graduates have a re-arrest rate of 23.5 percent, as compared to the 38.2 percent re-arrest rate for offenders who complete standard probation and the 54.3 percent re-arrest rate for those who are simply released from prison.
  • Drug court’s success in Oklahoma has also led to the development of other diversionary programs, including juvenile drug courts, family courts and mental health courts.

How have changes in Oklahoma’s drug laws affected drug court?

Oklahoma has been steadily enacting criminal justice reform legislation over the past few years to decrease the state’s prison population. One of those reforms includes reclassifying drug possession crimes to misdemeanors instead of felonies in hopes that drug users don’t end up serving lengthy prison terms for drug possession.

But what Oklahoma lawmakers didn’t factor in is that drug court is only an option for felony drug charges. Under the new law, about a fourth of all people charged with drug felonies over the past few years would have misdemeanor charges instead. This makes them ineligible for Oklahoma drug court and has officials re-examining the program to see how it can be restructured to help misdemeanor offenders, as well.

Give Jacqui Ford a call today 

Drug court is just one option when you are facing charges for heroin, marijuana or other drugs. If you are in this situation, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to work on your behalf. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for your free consultation.

Is there such a thing as “justifiable homicide”

Is there such a thing as justifiable homicide? In the eyes of the law, yes.

There are certain circumstances in which killing another person might not constitute a crime.

Justifiable homicide is defined as the “no-fault” killing of another person, because killing the person was necessary to save your own life or the life of someone else. What justifiable homicides lack when compared to regular homicides is criminal intent. Self-defense shootings, capital punishment, and some deadly police shootings are a few examples of justifiable homicide.

If you are a store owner and someone comes in and tries to rob you at gunpoint, if you shoot and kill the suspect, that could be a case of justifiable homicide. If a police officer is pursuing a criminal suspect and the suspect threatens to use or uses physical force against the office, that could be another case of justifiable homicide.

What is justifiable homicide in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, a homicide is justified when it’s committed by someone in any of the following situations:

  • When you are resisting the person’s attempts to murder you or commit a felony against you
  • When you are legally defending yourself or someone else against the person you killed, because you reasonably believed that lethal force was necessary to prevent your own death or great bodily harm, or to stop the person from committing a forcible felony. Forcible felony is defined as any felony that involves the use of or threat of physical force or violence against someone else.
  • When the homicide was necessary because you were trying, “by lawful ways and means,” to detain someone for committing a felony, or because you were trying to lawfully suppress a riot or preserve the peace.

What is Oklahoma’s “Make My Day” Law?

In some states, it’s referred to as the Castle Doctrine, based on the platitude that a man’s home is his castle. In Oklahoma, it’s more commonly called the “Make My Day” law, presumably thanks to Clint Eastwood’s famous phrase — Go ahead, make my day — in “Dirty Harry.”

It’s essentially an expansion of Oklahoma’s existing self-defense and justifiable homicide laws. It’s based on the premise that Oklahomans should be able to feel “absolute safety” in their home, business or personal vehicle.

  • The Make My Day law states that someone who has “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm” when another person illegally enters your home or business is justified in using deadly force.
  • This does not apply if the person you defended yourself against has a right to be in the home, vehicle or business (owner, title holder, etc.) and there is no protective order in place. This also does not apply if you were engaged in unlawful activity or were using the home, business or vehicle to further illegal acts.

It’s important to understand that you cannot insert yourself into a violent or potentially violent situation, then shoot someone in self defense. For example, if you start arguing with someone inside a bar, then go out in the parking lot to fight them, if you shoot them during a fight, it is not self-defense or justifiable homicide.

Justifiable homicide is not often a clear-cut case, and it almost always requires the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney to navigate the case. If you or someone you love was involved in a case of justifiable homicide, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.

What is the Trial Lawyer’s College and who attends?

If you’ve read Jacqui Ford’s bio, you may know that she’s been involved with the Trial Lawyer’s College since 2013 –  first as a student and now as a faculty member.

But what is the Trial Lawyer’s College like? What can a lawyer gain from it?

In this post, Jacqui provides insight into the TLC and how it has shaped her legal practice to the benefit of her clients.


What is the Trial Lawyer’s College and who attends?

Founded in 1994 by renowned criminal defense attorney Gerry Spence, TLC is an elite college of lawyers who represent people. The basic requirement is that one must be either a criminal defense or a plaintiff lawyer. (Prosecutors and lawyers who represent insurance companies cannot join.)

“These other guys are in the business of holding people down. As government or corporate lawyers, they have unlimited resources at their disposal,” explains Jacqui, “So maintaining exclusivity is important to us because we are the underdogs.”

The goal of TLC is to arm criminal defense and plaintiff lawyers with the skills needed to effectively try their cases in front of a judge and jury.


Learning to be a better lawyer

As Jacqui learned, TLC is not for the faint of heart. Admitted to the college after a vetting process, attendees must give up three weeks of their lives to fly to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the summer. The journey doesn’t end there though…

Lawyers go to the Thunderhead Ranch, 100 miles from Jackson Hole, fifteen miles off the nearest paved road.

There is no cell phone service. No television. No radio.  

A group of about 55 lawyers sleep in the old barn that has been converted to dormitories and a classroom.

(Not what you were picturing, right?)


The TLC Process

The objective of trial lawyers often involves persuading people to go against biases and opinions they already have.

“Most people are already inclined to believe the police officer. Most people already have opinions about things like DUI and rape. We have to as lawyers ensure a fair trial and see to it that the falsely accused go free,” says Jacqui.

To do this, lawyers must first start with themselves. They must “work on the horse” as they call it at the Ranch.

After all, someone can dress up in cowboy shoes and a hat and throw a $1000 fancy saddle on a horse. But at the end of the day, if it’s a $10 horse, what good is the $1000 saddle?  

Using intensive psychodrama techniques, lawyers first learn to reenact scenes from their own childhood in front of their peers– something that is scary and emotionally exhausting.

These 12 hour group therapy sessions allow trial attorneys to understand themselves, but they are also crucial to shaping how they practice law.

As lawyers learn to walk in another person’s shoes, they begin to able to walk in their clients’ shoes. If they can walk in their clients’ shoes, then they can walk in the shoes of a jury member.

Lawyers at TLC also learn to listen, to observe, and to reflect.


After the Ranch

Other lawyers joke that when Jacqui returns from a TLC trip, she is “Zen Jacqui.” If the practices at the ranch seem all little wonky and a little New Age-y, it’s because they are designed to take lawyers out of their comfort zone.

At its core, TLC aims to restore the humanity back in the practice of law.

Through TLC Jacqui and her team have built an amazing network of some of the nation’s leading trial attorneys, who often come to each other’s aid when they need to workshop strategy for tough cases. Together they can sometimes turn a $100k case to a $1 million case.

“A public defender may come to me with a DUI case, and he’s not sure how the jury will act. He can’t afford to hire a mock jury, so I can do is get 12 lawyers together. Through psychodrama we can take on the personas of different jury members to figure out how the public defender should tackle strategy and jury selection. We’ve just provided him with a focus group,” explains Jacqui.  

For the past three years Jacqui has served as a faculty member teaching at TLC workshops around the country for lawyers who can’t make it to Wyoming.

At the end of the day it is about helping lawyers help people.


Success as Result

As Jacqui admits, “I was a good lawyer before the Trial Lawyer’s College. Sure, I won some awards. But I wasn’t a great lawyer. TLC let me focus on what matters in the courtroom and what matters to my client.”

Jacqui continues to rack up victories in court by practicing the techniques and skills learned through TLC. She was recently recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from America’s Top 100 Attorneys, an award bestowed on less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States.

“When I look at the attorneys who have received the award, I feel honored to be in such great company,” says Jacqui–who for the record, does not like to talk about herself (but we did anyways).

If you’re a trial attorney who would like to learn more about TLC, or if you are in need of a criminal attorney, contact Jacqui Ford Law today.  

Been in an “alcohol related incident?” Here’s what to KNOW

Whether it’s stumbling around and being loud and boisterous, or making the irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel of a car, there can be serious consequences for your behavior if you’ve had too much to drink.

Did you know you can be arrested for public intoxication even if you aren’t actually drunk? If you are acting drunk and disorderly in public, sometimes that’s all it takes for you to be handcuffed and facing a public intoxication charge.


What is public intoxication?

Public intoxication is typically a misdemeanor charge for people who are acting drunk and disorderly in public. This could include yelling, using profanities, stumbling around, or just generally being disruptive to those around you, i.e. disturbing the peace.

Police officers in Oklahoma can opt to take you into protective custody or to a treatment facility instead of arresting you for public intoxication. These scenarios are more likely to happen if you are a threat to yourself or those around you. Law enforcement can also opt to do both; arrest you and take you into protective custody.

In Oklahoma, the following penalties are possible if you are convicted of public intoxication:

  • Five to thirty days in jail
  • A $100 to $500 fine


What happens if you get a DUI in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has some of the toughest criminal laws in the country, and DUIs are no exception.

In Oklahoma, you can be arrested for a DUI if any of the following conditions are met:

  • You are 21 or older and your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is .08 percent or more.
  • You are younger than 21 years old and you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.
  • You register a .04 percent BAC and have a CDL (commercial driver’s license).

If you are stopped by a police officer who suspects you are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be revoked. Without an attorney to help get your license back, your driving privileges could be taken away for months, or even years.

Unlike some states, in Oklahoma, you can be punished for having a BAC of .05 percent to .08 percent. You can end up with a suspended driver’s license, along with a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail.


What are the penalties for DUI in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, a first-offense DUI (with a BAC of .08 percent or more), can result in the following:

  • 10 days to one year in jail.
  • A fine of up to $2,500.
  • Suspended license for up to six months.

If you get convicted of a DUI for a second time within 10 years of your first one, it becomes a felony charge that could result in the following:

  • One to seven years in prison
  • A fine of up to $5,000.

Third and subsequent offenses could land you in prison for up to 10 years, with fines of up to $5,000.

Alcohol-related crimes in Oklahoma need to be taken seriously as they can have profound consequences on your life. The help of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system and handle alcohol related charges. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for help.

How to make Encounters With Police Safer for People With Disabilities

People with disabilities account for an astonishing one-third to one-half of all people killed by law enforcement every year.

It’s a disturbing statistic, particularly if you or someone you love suffers from a disability — be it mental or physical.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for people with disabilities, explained in a report that in these cases — cases when a police officer kills someone who is disabled — there is usually widespread media attention and public outcry involved.

One recent example right here in Oklahoma City was the case of

Although all police officers should have some sort of formal training on how to respond to disabled people, there are specific policies and methods that have proven effective.


How can police officers improve their response to disabled people?

One method police departments can try is employing Crisis Intervention Teams:


  • CITs are a collaborative effort between law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health advocates and the mental health community.
  • CIT officers undergo a special training that makes them better able to handle a situation without using force and better able to restrain people without injuring them.
  • CIT officers are also able to look at the situation as a whole and assess where the disabled person needs to go from this point.
  • CIT training teaches verbal de-escalation techniques, a skill set that’s not taught in traditional law enforcement training.


According to the Ruderman Foundation, states and local governments that have implemented crisis intervention teams have shown fewer cases of police officers injuring or killing people with disabilities.

They have also seen:

  • An uptick in jail diversion rates
  • Fewer lawsuits against government bodies
  • Stronger relationships with the mental health field
  • More and more people with disabilities are receiving the community services they need instead of taking up space in jail cells.
  • A drastic decrease in officers being injured by disabled people when responding to calls. In Memphis, where the police department implemented a CIT, officer injuries dropped 80 percent.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness concludes that one reason CITs are so successful is that they connect police officers to a team of clinical professionals, as well as fellow officers, and as a team, they collectively decide the best solution for that particular crisis situation.

Whichever method police departments are trying to better handle people with disabilities, it’s necessary that they treat people with disabilities in accordance with provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of abuse at the hands of a police officer, you need the help of an experienced civil rights attorney on your side. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.

All about embezzlement crimes in Oklahoma

Embezzlement in Oklahoma is a type of property theft, one that deals with violating trust, as in you were trusted not to steal.

Embezzlement is defined as the illegal taking of money or other property by someone who had a responsibility to handle the money or property, but had no legal right to take the money or  property for themselves and their own personal gain.

Contrary to popular belief, embezzlement is not limited to workplaces. It can be a family member who’s supposed to handle finances for an elderly or sick family member, then the person is found to have taken the money for themselves.

The severity of the crime and the possible penalties for an embezzlement conviction vary depending on how much money or the value of the property taken.


What are the laws on embezzlement in Oklahoma?

Here’s how Oklahoma punishes embezzlement crimes:

  • Property valued $500 or less: if convicted, the defendant could get up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison.
  • Property valued between $500 and $1,000: if convicted, the defendant could get up to $5,000 in fines, one year in jail, as well as being forced to pay restitution. Restitution is compensation paid to the victims of crimes.
  • Property valued between $1,000 and $25,000: If convicted, you could get up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and he or she could be forced to pay restitution.
  • Property worth more than $25,000: This conviction will result in the harshest penalties. He or she could get up to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and restitution.


Is there a statute of limitations on embezzlement charges in Oklahoma?

There are two different statutes of limitations when it comes to embezzlement charges in Oklahoma:

  • Embezzlement cases involving theft of public property or public money (i.e. stealing from a government agency) have a statute of limitations of seven years. That means prosecutors have seven years from the time the alleged theft occurred to press charges.
  • Embezzlement cases involving private money or private property have a statute of limitations of five years. That means prosecutors have five years from the date of the alleged theft to press charges.

It’s also important to note that prosecution must be commenced from the discovery of the embezzlement.


As you can see, embezzlement is as serious as it sounds, with the potential for big fines and time behind bars. If you or someone you love is accused of embezzlement, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.

What happens if you violate protective orders?

A restraining order, or sometimes referred to as a protective order, is a legally binding court order for someone to stay away from another person.

Most often, restraining orders are granted in response to the following actions:

  • Stalking someone
  • Harassing someone
  • Endangering the safety of someone else
  • Violence against someone

The victim is the one who has to request the restraining order as a way to protect him or herself.

There are many different places the court can order people to stay away from, including the victim’s workplace and home.

If it’s a domestic violence case, the judge could do the following:

  • He or she could order the person who abused the victim to get counseling or go to alcohol or substance abuse treatment.
  • He or she could order a police escort for the abuser to remove personal items from the home.

The consequences of violating a protective order can be serious.


What can happen if you violate a protective order?

Here’s what can happen if a person is found to have violated a restraining order:

  • He or she can get a hefty fine.
  • He or she can go to jail.
  • He or she could get both jail time and a fine.

Violating a restraining order is usually a misdemeanor, but it can be upgraded to a felony charge under some circumstances:

  • Did the violation happen while another crime was taking place? Like vandalism or assault?


How is a restraining order enforced?

The person who has requested and received the protective order is urged to keep a copy of the court order with them — all the time.

This is so the victim can immediately show police the order if the aggressor violates the order. It’s up to the victim to call police. The order cannot be enforced without cooperation from the victim, and the victim should call the authorities immediately after the violation happens. Sometimes, law enforcement can’t intervene if too much time has lapsed between the violation and when the victim made the call.

If you or someone you love is accused of violating a protective order, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help with your case. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.

Civil Rights Abuses and Immigration Enforcement

The American Civil Liberties Union reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, has detained and deported a record number of undocumented immigrants in recent years.

While the government does have the right to deport people who are not in the United States legally, the ACLU has concerns about the tactics agents are using to forcibly remove immigrants from the United States.

What kind of civil rights abuses is the ACLU investigating?

The ACLU calls the government’s tactics a “rubber-stamp system” that doesn’t give detainees their right to a fair court hearing, and also doesn’t take individual circumstances into consideration. These methods threaten civil rights in the following ways:

  • They potentially violate the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
  • The potentially violate due process as a constitutional right.
  • They violate protection from discrimination based on race, ethnicity or country of origin.

Not only do these practices potentially violate civil rights, they rip apart families that are trying to better themselves and have a negative impact on the way the community interacts with law enforcement.

There have been several instances of abuse, according to the ACLU, including racial profiling and excessive force due to the “militarization” of ICE agents.

How have civil rights abuses in immigration enforcement affected immigrants?

A recent report from Amnesty International examined the civil rights violations at the U.S.-Mexican  border and inside the United States. Not only are there potential civil rights violations of U.S. law, there are also potential violations of international human rights laws.

The report notes the following disturbing discoveries:

  • Hundreds of people die every year trying to get into the United States because they’re using dangerous routes as a way to avoid abusive agents at the border.
  • Federal immigration agents have been working more and more with state and local law enforcement agencies to detain people suspected of being here illegally, but because there is less oversight at the state and local level, it often leads to racial profiling.
  • Immigrants have been less and less able to find essential human services, including education and health care.
  • State and local laws have been increasingly targeting immigrant populations, which leaves their communities at risk of discrimination and less likely to ask for help when they need it.
  • When immigrants are victims of serious crimes — such as armed robbery, human trafficking or domestic violence — they’re much less likely to contact law enforcement out of fear they will be detained and ultimately deported.

Immigration enforcement has become an increasingly polarizing and complicated topic. If you or someone you love is at the center of a problem involving immigration, contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.