Arizona v. United States

Amicus curiae brief of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of the respondent, United States of America.

Brief filed: 03/26/2012


Arizona v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 11-182

Prior Decision

Decision below 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011).


Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 created new criminal offenses and new authorizations for police officers in Arizona to detain and arrest persons suspected of being in the United States illegally. Section 2 modified Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 11-1051(B) so that officers would be required to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained, or arrested, if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and officers would be required to verify the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing the person. Section 3 created a new statute, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1509, creating a crime for the failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers. Section 5 created a new statute, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2928(C), creating a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work. Section 6 modified Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3883(A)(5) to authorize warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes the person removable from the United States. All of these portions of SB 1070 were enjoined by the District Court,2 and that order was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

SB 1070 cannot be enforced without racially profiling Latinos in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. SB 1070 is an unconstitutional “stop-and-identify” law that converts detentions into de facto arrests where officers rely on hunches and other impermissible factors in assuming that a person is in the country illegally. While not all Arizona law enforcement is unmindful of the state’s citizen’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, systematic abuses of the law include Maricopa County’s “immigration sweeps” where the sheriff’s department conduct dragnet operations over large groups of people of Latino heritage and arrest first and ask questions later.

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David J. Euchner, Pima County Public Defender’s Office, Tucson, AZ.