A U.S. District Court judge ruled last week that Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is liable in the wrongful arrest of a woman that occurred shortly after the county entered an agreement to enforce federal immigration policy in 2008.

"I'm very thankful to the people who came to my defense, and am pleased to hear that the judge ruled in a way that will hopefully prevent what happened to me from happening again," said Roxanna Orellana Santos in a written statement provided by her attorneys.

A native of El Salvador, Santos was arrested by two county sheriff's deputies in October 2008 while she ate lunch outside her workplace. Santos was stopped when she appeared to try to hide from the deputies. The deputies checked Santos' ID and arrested her after learning of an open civil deportation warrant filed against her by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Santos sued the former Frederick County Board of Commissioners, Jenkins and the arresting deputies in 2009 for civil rights violations, seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The initial lawsuit was dismissed, but Santos' attorneys appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. That court found in August 2013 that the deputies arrested Santos without probable cause, a violation of her constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure.

The arrest took place approximately six months after the 287(g) program was activated in Frederick County in April of 2008. Under the agreement, trained sheriff's office employees can check the immigration status of individuals booked into the county detention center and begin deportation proceedings if appropriate.

A central argument of Santos' attorneys was that Jenkins was acting as a policymaker for Frederick County when he entered into the 287(g) program with ICE.

Judge Catherine C. Blake ruled in favor of that argument in a memorandum handed down Sept. 27 in U.S. District for the District of Maryland.

Attorneys for the sheriff's office had moved to dismiss the case against Jenkins, arguing, among other things, that sheriffs are generally considered state agents under Maryland law, therefore shielding Jenkins from being considered a county policymaker.

“The agreement reached between ICE and Sheriff Jenkins is not an exercise of state executive power. … Close inquiry finds Sheriff Jenkins as the final policymaker for Frederick County over 'the particular issue' in question — Frederick County's participation in the 8 U.S.C. 1357(g) program,” Blake's ruling reads, citing the U.S. code that outlines the powers of immigration officers.

Blake's ruling acknowledged that neither of the arresting patrol deputies was trained to act under the 287(g) program and Santos was not arrested under the agreement. Still, Jenkins knowingly overstepped the terms of the agreement when he communicated the sheriff's office's policy to deputies.

“Only officers trained and certified under the agreement were permitted to participate in immigration enforcement. Despite this fact, [Jenkins] promulgated a General Order that required all patrol officers to run warrant checks on stopped individuals, and detain any individual with an outstanding warrant, regardless of whether the warrant was civil or criminal,” the ruling states in part.

Santos' attorneys, Jose Perez and Brian Whittaker, said Blake's decision Thursday bodes well for continuing to pursue damages in trial.

"We now have the federal district court in Maryland rejecting the sheriff’s excuses, defenses of trying to absolve their responsibility for their conduct and policies," Perez said. "They are responsible, liable for their conduct in 2008."

Santos was separated from her infant child and detained for 37 days following the 2008 arrest. Her attorneys plan to pursue monetary relief for the emotional, mental and other damages Santos suffered as a result of her unlawful arrest, Perez said. 

"Damages will be rewarded," Whittaker said. "The question is how much."

Santos is also pursuing injunctive relief that would prevent the sheriff's office from making future unlawful arrests. Santos' counsel indicated their willingness to discuss settlement with the sheriff's office and county. 

"We would urge the county to sit down and end the fighting," Perez said. "Two courts have already spoken in this case about their liability and responsibility. It would be in everyone’s best interest to go to some kind of agreement if possible."

Multiple attempts to reach Daniel Karp with the law offices of Karpinski, Colaresi and Karp — the firm representing the defendants — were not returned as of Thursday.

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(59) comments

connellycs

OK I haven't ventured into a FNP comments section in a while - and now I remember why. The hatred and ugliness is almost unbearable - and these people have the audacity to call themselves "christian." The very opposite of what the real Jesus was all about. Shame! We are a country of immigrants!

sofanna

Agree.

connellycs

Sheriff Jenkins is an embarrassment to Frederick County! I suppose he's proud to be compared to Racist Joe Arpaio of AZ.

sdm817

Appeal to the Supreme Court. There are too many liberal judges trying to set immigration policy.

Burgessdr

The problem is Chuckie doesnt like brown people. Legal or illegal.

Samanthapowers

He’s a fossil. A relic of days past. Dump
chunky. Go Bickel.

rbtdt5

You do realize that Bickel is older than Chuck, right? So if Chuck is a fossil, then what's that make Bickel

DickD

Smarter!

Samanthapowers

Sorry, chucks a fossil in that his antiquated and heavy handed tactics (apparently so heavy people die when encountering his ‘force’) are recognized by educated individuals as completely counter productive to an effective, successful policing force.

threecents

Not liable in federal court?

Am I wrong,
The arrest violated constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure because they arrested her without probable cause.

Also, Santos was not arrested as part of 287(g) screening processe policy to enforce federal immigration law.

What makes matters worse, Jenkins thought that he was not legally liable for Santos’ arrest because he was acting as a state official and was not the final county policy maker.
Sound like someone may not know what they’re doing. You think?

User1

Have you ever heard “acting in a suspicious manner”. That’s what she did when she saw the deputies. She ran, for no obvious reason, and hid. That’s grounds to stop and ask for identification. They then found she had an outstanding deportation order on her. What’s the issue besides the liberal judges? We the next sanctuary city? I say pay her a token $1 and a bus ticket back to El Salvador.

KellyAlzan

Obviously the court knows differently. And it’s obvious why you’re not a judge......

sofanna

Agree. How is it that an individual who is in our country illegally has Constitutional protection, meant for the citizens and individuals here in our country legally. She had an outstanding deportation order. Isn't this the similar to a warrant for someone's arrest.

jerseygrl42

What an absurd miscarriage of justice; the woman breaks the law and comes here w/o permission, is arrested for breaking the law and then sues the Sheriff for participating in a law abiding program and the judge says her arrest was illegal....the citizens of America can kiss our Constitution goodby with this kind of ignorant interpretation and that is why we have 15 Million illegals here... shame on the 4th circuit

BornToHula

She was apparently arrested/searched without probable cause (violation of the 4th Amendment) and this ruling somehow is a sign that we can kiss our constitution goodbye?

User1

So are you saying that someone can sneak around your house, and run when the cops come around. When they confront the person they CAN’T ask for identification? Because that’s what happened here. Just like if they stop you in a car for any reason, check your drivers license and find outstanding warrants. No probable cause? That’s garbage. And don’t forget the illegal ID she had, that’s called identity theft.

KellyAlzan

User - the case has aleardy been heard. By multiple judges. Arguing here with us is a waste of energy for you

Johndoe1

Wow how sad! Liberals want to destroy and exploit Americans. You can tell with the way they comment on here how entitled they are because liberals don’t work for things, they lie, cheat, and steal! Get a backbone! Vote republican! #wwg1wga

phydeaux994

jerseygrl, you don't have a clue what the 287(g) Program was then and what the rules were. Sheriff Jenkins was politely asked by ICE to leave the Law Enforcement Task Force part of the 287(g) Program soon after. And you don't have a clue what the 287(g) Program is now. Ignorance is bliss!

Johndoe1

Phydeaux994 and b1 sellers, 287(g) was implemented in 2008 but only the patrol aspect ceased in 2012, and I understand how this may be controversial but it’s the law! The sheriffs department has also stated they won’t conduct these kind of arrests anymore at the workplace or homes of these individuals. Also it costs the sheriffs office $53 a day to have them at our detention center and ICE compensates them $83 a day in return! Now unless you’re going to present facts I would think again before assuming someone is ignorant, you liberals never present facts you just like to attack attack attack. You’re giving people that wouldnt even think twice to harm you and your family for a dollar and a beer more freedom and liberty than yourself.

b1sellers

You are wrong Jersey. No surprise there.

sofanna

Agree totally.

pappyjoe

rb I`m sure if the mouth pieces want to sit down with Chuck to reach a settlement he would be happy too. First if the accuser had not attempted to obtain her green card since the arrest Chuck, can reach into his wallet and make a settlement quickly.

KellyAlzan

“Green card”? What century are you in?

Johndoe1

Which rock are you living under? Please tell me how it’s wrong for us to want legal immigration and things like green cards and voter id laws? And please do tell me, is it wrong that when a non-Mexican citizen gets caught voting in an election they are sentenced to 2 years in prison! If you don’t like America then gtfo!

Johndoe1

To clarify since you are living under a rock, I am talking about elections that happen in Mexico, it’s a country just like USA and it’s to the south of our country. Now being that it is a COUNTRY, they can take care of their own people and so can El Salvador and Guatemala and even those Canadians up north or any country that is, if you want to come and live in America then you have to follow American rule&law just as we do when we go to other countries......... oh wait that’s right no one wants to go to another country because you people know you have it good here with all your lazy employment laws and benefits!

rbtdt5

Wow, only in America. She should be deported.

KellyAlzan

Yep, civil liberties. “Only in America” is right!

rbtdt5

I know, we need illegals here or you wouldn't have worker bees.

KellyAlzan

And you wouldn’t have milk

rbtdt5

lol

sofanna

Give me a break, really?

Hayduke2

This will cost the county millions... Oh wait, it is the taxpayers who will pay for this.

DickD

Yeah, us and Tit says he uses the patrol car to go to Martinsburg to see his girl friend. Grubb says he uses County time and facilities to campaign.

rbtdt5

And DickD believes everything he hears.

DickD

Not everything, Rb, I don't believe you![innocent]

Johndoe1

He must’ve not believed the Frederick news post when even they reported that it costs Frederick county $53 a day when they detain immigrants and ICE compensates then $83 a day in return! But of course these are things you wouldn’t understand, dickk! So really, he believes what he wants to believe, and expresses nothing but pure opinion, because that’s all it is when liberals talk, opinion, useless opinion from all of the useless knowledge they retained as young children!

KellyAlzan

Jenkins in fact used his county owned, fueled, maintained, and insured, cruiser to campaign 8 years ago. Clearly stated in the General Order that is a no no.

abowers1

I would love to see his wife respond to this. When I caught him doing something and posted the photo on Facebook, she started privately messaging my friends calling me a liar. She even tried to friend request me. I can only assume so she could tell me off. Don't worry, Shari. If I ever catch him doing something again, I will be sure to film it and get his voice in it so he can't deny it. Hopefully someone does that with him visiting his girlfriend in the county vehicle, and you can use that evidence for your alimony case.

KellyAlzan

Deputies cheating on their wives at fcso is a culture there. Just ask veteran fcso official with the initials of J.K.

User1

And what about the yellow submarines we see at the mall and shopping centers after the kids are dropped off. Bus drivers are not on duty 24/7 love law enforcement are

KellyAlzan

Exactly righ haydude, that’s why we can’t fly blindly come elections. You realize, this case would never exist, and none of us would be commenting on this, had Jenkins never been put in office?

KellyAlzan

And haydude, same with the dog shooting case.

Deputy hired by Jenkins whose was a personal friend. Campaigned hard and heavy for Jenkins. Had domestic abuse history on MD Case Search. Then, shoots a Labrador retriever that was confined within a fence in its own backyard, no threat to anyone.

The county paid for that too. Something that would never have ever happened had people not flown blindly into the election booths.

rbtdt5

I'm betting Billions! and probably a first born or two

richardlyons

Thanks Bubba.

abowers1

Wow! How much is this going to cost? He obviously didn't learn from letting Brooks murder someone's pet. Another situation all Chucked up! Bickle for Sherriff!

Samanthapowers

another uneducated, willfully ignorant good ole boy. Bye, chucky. Go Bickel.

matthewboh

[thumbup]

Dwasserba

"We would urge the county to sit down and end the fighting," Perez said. 'Two courts have already spoken in this case about their liability and responsibility. It would be in everyone’s best interest to go to some kind of agreement if possible.'" Bravado and self righteousness does not come cheap.

DickD

Didn't Jenkins turn $20,000, intended for training to Blaine? So, we have an uneducated Sheriff, refusing to use training money for training and to top it off issues an illegal order.

Karl Bickle would never do that!

KellyAlzan

Jenkins is too dumb to know right from wrong

DickD

If you read the article it states that he ignored the law, apparently thinking it does not apply to him.

KellyAlzan

That’s the court’s formal way of saying “dumb idiot”

User1

Glad you believe everything you read in the FNP. Probably believe everything you read on the internet also.

Johndoe1

It states that he overstepped his boundaries of the agreement, an agreement that had only been in effect for 6 months. What you people don’t understand is that the issue here is that when she was taken in to custody and they learned about her civil deportation warrant, he followed federal law and now because the STATE thinks it was wrong of him to do so, doesn’t mean he was in the wrong, maybe the states need to reread the constitution not try to rewrite it!

KellyAlzan

See everybody, I told you all that the deputies (and Jenkins) had overstepped their bounds.

Good thing we have a sheriff that has no formal education, lacking the ability to run an ethical law enforcement agency. Said no one.

This case proves the value of having an educated sheriff.

Johndoe1

Please do tell me why you support bickle so much? With facts please! That is if you even know anything about him.

Lemmy

There's a difference between "degreed" and "educated".

Welcome to the discussion.

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