The American Civil Liberties Union won a decision Friday at the Michigan Supreme Court in a dispute over jail records related to the detention of a Marine veteran in 2018.
Calhoun County, Michigan, had refused to release records, claiming they could be withheld because the jail was holding a man who was arrested by federal immigration officers.
But the Supreme Court, in a 7-0 decision, said a federal regulation restricting information doesn’t trump the terms of Michigan’s open records law. The case was sent back to a county judge.
The arrest of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez by federal authorities was a major mistake, the ACLU says.
The U.S. citizen was a lance corporal in the Marines and received awards for service in Afghanistan.
He had been arrested for allegedly “damaging a fire alarm at Spectrum Health – a local hospital – and trespassing on a heliport,” according to the International Business Times.
Ramos-Gomez had been released on personal recognizance after he pleaded guilty to the trespassing charge, the IB Times wrote in 2019.
“At that point, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department should have immediately released Mr. Ramos-Gomez. Instead, the Sheriff’s Department worked with ICE agents to enable his transfer to an immigration detention center in Calhoun County to start the deportation process,” according to American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU).
Ramos-Gomez was picked up at the Kent County jail, where he had been lodged in an unrelated matter, and taken to the Calhoun County jail. He was released after three days when questions about his citizenship finally were resolved.
The ACLU is seeking medical records, audio and video from Ramos-Gomez’ time at the jail.