ACLU, others support Villegas’ fight against Metro appeal

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 6:43pm

The American Civil Liberties Union as well as several Catholic theologians, health care advocacy groups and women’s rights organizations have filed separate amicus briefs in support of Juana Villegas’ legal battle against Metro government.

“This is a case of shocking and deliberate indifference to the wholly obvious, serious medical needs of Juana Villegas and the child she was about to deliver,” the ACLU brief states.

Metro is appealing U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes’ April 2011 decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Villegas, the plaintiff, after the judge found her civil rights were violated when the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office shackled her legs as she went into labor.

The sheriff’s office processed Villegas, an undocumented Mexican mother of four, after a 2008 routine traffic stop in Berry Hill as part of the federal 287(g) deportation program, now entering its sixth year of implementation in Nashville.

A seven-member jury awarded Villegas $200,000 in damages last August.

In the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Metro attorneys have argued Haynes has a “pattern of unjustified animosity toward Metro” based on his ruling in other cases.

Metro has also objected to Haynes’ decision to exclude testimony from two witnesses who opined that the shackling did not threaten Villegas’ health. Further, the city claims Haynes improperly excluded evidence regarding Villegas’ threatened deportation, which Metro claims was her real “source of depression and anxiety.”

Villegas’ attorneys responded in a brief last week that rejects arguments of Haynes’ alleged bias; claims other rulings support the unconstitutionality of shackling; and supports Haynes’ decision to exclude Villegas’ immigration status.

Oral arguments will likely commence later this year.

On Wednesday, four different constituencies filed amicus briefs to support Villegas’ case and the federal district court’s 2011 ruling. Collectively, the briefs identify more than 70 individuals who support Villegas.

In addition to the ACLU’s amicus brief are support from 10 Catholic theologians and one evangelical scholar from universities across the nation. “Catholic theology prizes human life from the moment of conception, which means that pregnant women in labor must be treated with special solicitude,” the amicus brief reads.

Support for Villegas, outlined in a third amicus brief, comes from health care advocacy groups such as the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, National Perinatal Association.

A fourth constituency comprised of women’s and human rights organizations –– including the National Women’s Law Center, the National Crittenton Foundation and the National Association of Women Lawyers –– have also offered its support of the judge’s original ruling.

16 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 5/10/12 at 4:55

This comes as no surprise from the ACLU, they have supported all
Judge Haynes many decisions against Metro, right or wrong. As to
the other groups, same agendas!

By: ghost7638ghost7... on 5/11/12 at 4:59

NO ILLEGAL Mexican should have a right to sue anybody, if they weren't here then this would not of happened. Go to Mexico with out a pass port and go to JAIL for ONE year. What do the US do give them $200000. They should be deported and so should ALL ILLEGALS, not reward them with trival law suits, and denie them any benfits, so that AMERICANS cand take care of AMERICANS. The stupid ACLU is a communist organization that should be disbanded.

By: ccmishu on 5/11/12 at 8:01

I wonder if she has paid for the hospital bills yet.

By: JeffF on 5/11/12 at 8:23

That is a very good good question. I would hate if she was able to drop another anchor and have Metro and state taxpayers pay for the whole thing.

Anchor Ahoy!!!!

By: JeffF on 5/11/12 at 8:23

Make that

anchors aweigh!!!!

By: KelliePicklerFan on 5/11/12 at 9:44

These people do NOT understand, these illegals have NO right here in the US so their rights were not broken. She has NO rights!!!
So she was shackled, poor baby! Why didn't they send her back to Mexico and let them pay for her medical care and baby?
Now the hospital can bill her $200.000 then send her back home!

May God Bless!

Keith Santo
Monroe, Washington

With God in your life put a Holiday in your Heart! (LeAnn Rimes)

By: Jughead on 5/11/12 at 11:13

This is insane liberalism. Our courts, judges, and the Department of Justice are absolutely FILLED with radical leftists.

America is doomed if these people are not stopped.

By: Jughead on 5/11/12 at 11:14

Illegal, leeching off of US (taxpayers), and liberal organizations say I need to pay her? Screw Catholics and the ACLU--nothing but leftist political organizations.

By: jthordsen on 5/11/12 at 11:24

How could someone have rights in this country if they are not a legal citizen of the United States? How can they even be given the time of day to sue for rights they are not entitled to?

Nothing the ACLU does surprises me, but the courts even entertaining this surprises me to no end.

By: nashmusic2244 on 5/11/12 at 11:30

Yet another means to exploit the generosity of our country by illegals. With God's blessing, I hope the higher court rules against this illegal alien who by the very fact she entered the country illegally she committed a crime.

Anything after that is moot.

We MUST send a clear message that illegal entry and permanence in our country will not be tolerated.

Finally, rule in favor of Metro, rescind the unjustified award and deport this woman to her home country.

By: bfra on 5/12/12 at 9:43

She entered the Country twice illegally. She has already been deported once and came back, which makes her a felon. She should not have any rights in this Country.

By: relliott on 5/12/12 at 11:48

Since when do illegals have any "rights"? Now we have another little citizen for the welfare community to support. Boot her back to Mexico!

By: Shadow63 on 5/12/12 at 6:24

So, The ACLU is against the right of appeal???

By: waters on 5/13/12 at 5:09

RoadToHope
We support the ACLU and the Villegas family in their pursuit of justice. We DO NOT support our Metro Government, the Police and Sheriff departments (who are in dire need of proper training and education), and we certainly don't support their blatant disregard for following their own standard operating procedures. Shame on Metro for continuing to maliciously pursue this case - wasting valuable time and tax-payer money - AGAIN...It's as if this city and its' leaders go out of their way to make criminals out of innocent victims. http://justiceforisla.wordpress.com When can we FIRE Torry Johnson and Karl Dean??

By: waters on 5/13/12 at 5:09

RoadToHope
We support the ACLU and the Villegas family in their pursuit of justice. We DO NOT support our Metro Government, the Police and Sheriff departments (who are in dire need of proper training and education), and we certainly don't support their blatant disregard for following their own standard operating procedures. Shame on Metro for continuing to maliciously pursue this case - wasting valuable time and tax-payer money - AGAIN...It's as if this city and its' leaders go out of their way to make criminals out of innocent victims. http://justiceforisla.wordpress.com When can we FIRE Torry Johnson and Karl Dean??

By: RTungsten on 5/14/12 at 11:16

You can't FIRE an elected official, moron.