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A NY Supreme Court Certifies for Persons Held on ICE Detainers Past Scheduled Release.

A New York Supreme Court certified a class in a lawsuit alleging the New York Department of Corrections (DOC) falsely imprisoned over 9,000 persons with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. The class consists of all persons who have been unlawfully detained in connection with said ICE detainers in New York City jails after all other conditions for their release had been satisfied.

Oscar Onadia was arrested in NYC on December 10, 2008 for unlicensed driving. He was sentenced to five days of incarceration on the prior charge, and bail was set at $100 on the December 10, 2008 charge. On December 12, 2008, after Onadia’s sentence was completed, he attempted to bail out on the most recent charge, but his bail was refused because ICE had filed an investigative detainer and requested that DOC hold Onadia for up to 48 hours on the detainer.

Onadia wasn’t released until January 23, 2009, 42 days after his scheduled release. He filed a civil lawsuit against DOC, in which he alleged that his extended detention based solely on an ICE investigative detainer constituted false imprisonment and unreasonable seizure. In his discovery he learned that more than 9,000 other detainees had also been held past their scheduled release dates based solely on ICE investigative detainers.

Onadia, via his counsel Mathew Brinkerhoff and Debra Greenburger of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff and Abady LLP, moved to amend the complaint for certification as a class action suit. The class included persons held past their scheduled release dates based solely on ICE detainers. His lawyers assumed full risk of the litigation. The court had already ruled that Onadia was adequate to represent the class. It was also evident that with 9,000 suits, financial and economic burdens would be great, and chances of inconsistent rulings would be also. The N.Y. Supreme Court granted the motion to certify a class.

See: Onadia v. City of New York, 2017 NY Slip op 25001.

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Related legal case

Onadia v. City of New York