Creedle v. Miami-Dade Cnty.

Citation349 F.Supp.3d 1276
Decision Date09 November 2018
Docket NumberCase No. 17-CIV-22477-WILLIAMS
Parties Garland CREEDLE, Plaintiff, v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida

Amien Kacou, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Tampa, FL, Edward Fortunato Ramos, Ian K. Shaw, Ira Jay Kurzban, Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., Nancy Gbana Abudu, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Kevin Arthur Gregg, Miami, FL, Romy Louise Lerner, Rebecca Ann Sharpless, University of Miami School of Law Immigration Clinic, Coral Gables, FL, for Plaintiff.

Michael Beny Valdes, Ana Angelica Viciana, Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office, Dexter Lee, United States Attorney's Office, Miami, FL, Lauren Crowell Bingham, U.S. DOJ, Civil Division, Ofc. of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for Defendants.



THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Alexander Martinez's motion to dismiss (DE 68), Defendants United States Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's ("ICE") motion to dismiss (DE 69), and Defendant Miami-Dade County's ("County") motion to dismiss (DE 70). Plaintiff Garland Creedle ("Mr. Creedle") filed a response in opposition to each motion. (DE 87; DE 88; DE 89). Defendants replied. (DE 100; DE 101; DE 102). For the reasons below, Martinez's motion to dismiss is GRANTED , while DHS and ICE's motion to dismiss and the County's motion to dismiss are GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

I. Background

Mr. Creedle filed his original complaint against Carlos A. Gimenez and the County on July 5, 2017. (DE 1). This Court held a hearing on May 16, 2018, during which it granted in part Gimenez and the County's first motion to dismiss. (DE 47). On June 1, 2018, Mr. Creedle filed an amended complaint against the County, DHS, ICE, and Martinez, an ICE officer. (DE 48). Defendants filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint soon after. (DE 68; DE 69; DE 70).

For purposes of ruling on the motions to dismiss, the Court accepts the following facts alleged in the amended complaint and contained in the exhibits as true. Mr. Creedle is a U.S. citizen who was 19 years old when the amended complaint was filed. (DE 48 at 3). Although Mr. Creedle has been a U.S. citizen since the moment of his birth by virtue of his father's U.S. citizenship, when he came to the U.S. from Honduras in 2015, ICE arrested him and placed him in administrative removal proceedings. Id. at 9-10. In April 2015, DHS filed a motion with the immigration judge stating that the proceedings should be terminated because Mr. Creedle is a U.S. citizen. Id. at 10; see also DE 48-1, Ex. B. The immigration judge granted the motion and terminated the proceedings against Mr. Creedle. Id. ; see also DE 48-1, Ex. C. It is not clear from the amended complaint or the Parties' briefing why removal proceedings were initiated against a U.S. citizen.

On March 12, 2017, Mr. Creedle was arrested after an alleged domestic dispute and taken to the Miami-Dade County jail. (DE 48 at 10). Mr. Creedle was never charged with an offense related to this arrest. Id. That evening, Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department ("MDC") officials fingerprinted Mr. Creedle and sent his fingerprints to DHS. Id. at 4, 10. On March 13, 2017, MDC received an immigration detainer request from Martinez, an immigration enforcement officer, listing Mr. Creedle as its subject. Id. The "Request for Voluntary Transfer" form stated that Mr. Creedle was "a removable alien" under civil immigration law and asked MDC to hold him for up to 48 hours after he would otherwise be released from MDC's custody. Id. at 11.

The detainer did not allege probable cause to believe that Mr. Creedle had committed a crime, did not "state facts amounting to an individualized determination that there was probable cause to believe that [Mr. Creedle] was removable from the U.S.," and did not state that he posed a risk of flight. Id. at 11. Instead, the detainer form asserted that "[p]robable cause exists that [Mr. Creedle] is a removable alien" and, as support for this assertion, a box on the form had been checked next to an option stating that ICE's probable cause was based on "biometric confirmation of the subject's identity and a records check of federal databases that affirmatively indicate, by themselves or in addition to other reliable information, that the subject either lacks immigration status or notwithstanding such status is removable under U.S. immigration law." Id. ; see also DE 48-1, Ex. D. The form was signed only by Martinez.

On the same day, Mr. Creedle posted bond to be released from MDC. Id. at 11. Mr. Creedle told MDC officials that he was a U.S. citizen, but because of the ICE detainer, MDC refused to release him. Id. at 10. Instead, MDC detained him until the following day, March 14, 2017, after ICE officials had interviewed Mr. Creedle and withdrawn the detainer request. Id. at 12.

Mr. Creedle alleges that the County re-arrested him on March 13, 2017 pursuant to a recent change in policy that, in effect, requires MDC staff to "honor all immigration detainer requests." Id. at 9. This policy reversed the County's previous policy, which had been in place since December 2013 and significantly circumscribed the County's authority to arrest individuals pursuant to immigration detainer requests. Id. at 7. The 2013 policy stated that MDC could honor detainer requests from ICE only if (1) "the federal government agrees in writing to reimburse Miami-Dade County for any and all costs relating to compliance with [ICE] detainer requests"; (2) "the inmate that is the subject of such a request has a previous conviction for a Forcible Felony ..."; and (3) the inmate has, at the time the County received the detainer request, "a pending charge of a non-bondable offense...." Miami-Dade Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, Resolution 1008-13, at 5 (Dec. 3, 2013), Because the federal government "declined to reimburse the County for any expenses associated with detainers," MDC stopped arresting individuals based on detainer requests in January 2014. (DE 48 at 7-8).

In 2016, the Board ratified its position when it unanimously opposed "statewide legislation that would preempt its anti-detainer policy." Id. at 8. Resolution 77-16, which the Board passed on January 20, 2016, cited the fact that "federal courts have found that local law enforcement agencies that detain individuals on the sole authority of a detainer request violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, exposing such agencies to legal liability unless there has been an independent finding of probable cause to justify detention." Id. The Board's resolution goes on to state that "while criminal detainers are subject to multiple procedural safeguards, including a requirement of court approval, [ICE] detainer requests lack comparable protections ... [because] a judge is not required to review or approve an immigration detainer." Miami-Dade Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, Resolution 77-16, at 5-6 (Jan. 20, 2016), The Board noted that "a judge is not required to review or approve an immigration detainer," and that a detainer "may be issued by a single Immigration[ ] and Customs Enforcement officer when there are no immigration proceedings pending." Id. at 6. "[T]his process," the Board found, "does not meet the U.S. Constitution's minimum standard for authorizing detention after an inmate is scheduled to be released." Id.

Despite the County's1 clear position on the legality and efficacy of honoring all detainer requests, on January 26, 2017, Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez reversed course, issuing a memorandum to MDC that ordered it to "honor all immigration detainer requests." (DE 48-1).2 The directive was not preceded by any public notice or opportunity for debate, nor did it mention the Board's 2013 resolution limiting MDC's authority to hold people pursuant to detainer requests and the myriad legal concerns with honoring detainers.

On February 17, 2017, the Board ratified the Mayor's directive and amended its 2013 Resolution (1008-13) to direct the Mayor "to ensure that, related to immigration detainer requests, Miami-Dade County ... is cooperating with the federal government to the extent permissible by law." Miami-Dade Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, Resolution 163-17 (Feb. 17, 2017), MDC is following the Mayor's directive—as ratified by the Board's resolution—and, since January 26, 2017, has maintained a policy and practice of re-arresting individuals in its custody after their criminal custody has ended on the sole basis that the person is the subject of an immigration detainer request.

Mr. Creedle's amended complaint contains three counts against the County. Counts I and II are brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and allege that the County violated Mr. Creedle's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. (DE 48 at 12-13). Count III is a claim for false imprisonment under Florida law. Id. at 14. Counts IV and V against DHS and ICE each seek declaratory relief and damages.4 Count IV—brought under Section 706(2) of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA")—seeks a declaratory judgment that ICE exceeded its statutory authority; Count V seeks a declaratory judgment that ICE's actions violated Mr. Creedle's Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 15-16. Counts VI and VII against Martinez are Bivens claims brought under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, respectively. Id. at 16-17.

The amended complaint seeks: (1) a declaration that the County's policy of arresting people pursuant to immigration detainers is unlawful, (2) a declaration that Mr. Creedle's arrest pursuant to the...

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