Couples sue Border Patrol, Wakeman police over detainment

Four local Hispanic residents are suing the U.S. Border Patrol and Wakeman police for illegally detaining them and assaulting them, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Jessica Cuffman
Sep 22, 2012


Four local Hispanic residents are suing the U.S. Border Patrol and Wakeman police for illegally detaining them and assaulting them, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

A Norwalk couple and a Sandusky couple allege they were illegally interrogated for 14 hours, following a 6 a.m. traffic stop in Wakeman on Feb. 23, 2011, according to the 20-page lawsuit.

The couples claim the agents and police violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Border Patrol agents detained the two men and two women until about 8 p.m., when they took them to the Seneca County jail. In that 14-hour span, the agents repeatedly denied their requests for attorneys and also threatened them when they wouldn’t say they were from Mexico, the lawsuit states.

Agents also threatened to take away their children and indefinitely detain them at the Border Patrol station, which at the time was in Sandusky, according to the lawsuit.

It’s still unclear if the couples were undocumented residents.

Read more on the suit in Saturday's Register.



Based on what is being reported, Consider RULE 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In law, a summary judgment (also judgement as a matter of law) is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, i.e., without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued on the merits of an entire case, or on discrete issues in that case.

In common-law systems, questions about what the law actually is in a particular case are decided by judges; in rare cases jury nullification of the law may act to contravene or complement the instructions or orders of the judge, or other officers of the court. A factfinder has to decide what the facts are and apply the law. In traditional common law the factfinder was a jury, but in many jurisdictions the judge now acts as the factfinder as well. It is the factfinder who decides "what really happened," and it is the judge who applies the law to the facts as determined by the factfinder, whether directly or by giving instructions to the jury.

A party moving (applying) for summary judgment is attempting to avoid the time and expense of a trial when the outcome is obvious. A party may also move for summary judgement in order to eliminate the risk of losing at trial, and possibly avoid having to go through discovery (i.e., by moving at the outset of discovery), by demonstrating to the judge, via sworn statements and documentary evidence, that there are no material factual issues remaining to be tried.

The question here is:

Did the Border Patrol agent have reasonable suspicion that the parties were committing a crime, about to commit a crime, or in the act of committing a crime?

Did he/she believe these individuals were illegal aliens?

If after breifly detaining the parties, did the Border Patrol agent have probable cause to move these individuals to the jail for further questioning?

Based on the lack of appropriate docmentation, driver's licenses, identification, ect. did the Border Patrol Agent possess "probable cause" that these individuals were in the country illegally, and/or trafficking drugs?

If there's nothing for the factfinder to decide, then the moving party asks rhetorically, why have a trial? The moving party will also attempt to persuade the court that the undisputed material facts require judgment to be entered in its favor. In many jurisdictions, a party moving for summary judgment takes the risk that, although the judge may agree there are no material issues of fact remaining for trial, the judge may also find that it is the non-moving party that is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.





 Does anyone know why I am seeing more and more Border Control SUVs on Rt. 2 since especially this summer?   


Notice how none are Fords? Thats how Barrys fudging the numbers to make his bailout look like a better idea then it was. He gave them our tax dollars twice!


Because our legislators in D.C. allow their campaign contributors to be homeland security profiteers. New stations, lots of new vehicles, weapons, electronic surveillance equipment, billions of tax dollars have been poured into the L.E/Industrial complex since 9/11 gave congress a whole new group of cronies to pander to.

James Mason

There are probably more Border Patrol vehicles patrolling because the state of Ohio borders Canada, which isn't part of the United States. Hence the name Border Patrol.


My neighborhood does not sit on the border yet they followed my wife home one day.  She's black.  What's that all about?


Those sneaky Canadians arent all lily white Deertracker, You never know if they are canadian till you pull them over and they start speaking french and trying to bribe you with a Looney.


To many cooks spoil the broth! 


Deertracker---did they follow her into your driveway or were they simply going down the same road that she was?  I was once followed from the center of town (Huron) to my home only to find out the cop was going to a call three houses from me.


What do you mean it's "unclear" if the couples were "undocumented residents" (more appropriately known as illegal aliens)? Either they were here legally, or they weren't. And that makes all the difference.

The Constitution protects American citizens from abuses by the government. That includes the right to an attorney. But if they're not legally in the country, they have no such right (though Immigration is probably dumb and politically correct enough to give them one and pay for it to boot)! Why were they stopped? If the Border Patrol had a reason (which I'm going to have to assume that they did), there's no Fourth Amendment violation involved even if it turns out they ARE legal residents!

Right now, it's impossible to comment on the Border Control doing a good job, OR the Border Control exceeding its authority. It's impossible to say that the plaintiffs deserve some compensation OR if the only thing they deserve is a one way ticket back to wherever it is they came from.

Stories like this shouldn't be published if they're incomplete! Worse, I suspect a good deal of the missing information would have been available with a minimum of digging.

So while we all wonder just what the heck happened as concerns the detention and subsequent lawsuit, I think it's also perfect fair to wonder if the Register published this to gin up some controversy over the Border Patrol, or if it was just that slow a news day...

IMPORTANT NOTE: In GENERAL, the Border Patrol does the best job it can under the extreme disadvantages imposed upon it by a federal government that's duty bound to protect our borders but which can't seem to muster up any interest in doing so


4th amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure, while they probably ok with the stop which requires reasonable suspicion, holding them for 16 hours without probable cause is not ok and a violation of the constitution, unless there is much more to this than is reported. The constitution covers anyone on American soil not just citizens, at least the 4th and 14th amendments

Korematsu:   Race as a suspect classification triggering rigorous scrutiny by court. Court says ALL legal restrictions which curtail rights of individuals based on race are suspect & subject to strict scutiney ·         WWII statute which excluded persons of Japanese Ancestry from venturing into West Coast -     Fear of spying RULE:                        If state is legislating this restriction on racial class as a matter of public necessity then it is O.K. says court because for the good of the nation -           We are at war with Japan so this is O.K. because meant to prevent spying No violation of Equal Protection Clause so says Court because necessary to protect country   ·         Dissent says danger (spying) isn’t sooo imminent that measure here was necessarry.    

These people were stopped for a traffic stop but unable to provide any drivers license AND could provide no papers of any legalization OR any other papers of proof of citizenship.

If they cannot provide that, they how can they claim any rights under the law?  Only citizens can expect the rights of the American judicial system, not aliens who are hear for a short time during the planting and picking seasons.  They do not have the rights conveyed upon them of the American Citizens in this country

If you read what is written in this affidavid, you will see that when first stopped, Maria ADMITTED she didn't have a driver's license or any papers with her at all. 

Nor did anyone else in the car.  They suspected drugs right off the bat.  That's why they called in the Border patrol. 


If they are on American soil they are protected by our constitution. Being held against your will equates to an arrest, an arrest without probable cause is unconstitutional.  We are assumed innocent not guilty in the U.S. at least we use to be.


I don't think that is true. Our constitution covers US , not illegal aliens. You have to be an American Citizen to have the constitution cover you. They are not entitled to our protective laws if they are not citizens. And apparently they were not.


Do they have SSN's?         That is proof enough if given to L.E.      (I usally do not carry my drivers license. My SSN suffices)

Seen it All

I agree with Sam and wired.. IT makes ALL the difference in the world IF they are citizens or if they are illegal!   IF we allow illegals to SUE US.. we are in for a lot more money then we are already paying to bus their kids to school to learn English, and their medical!!!!



It was not a cop.  It was a border patrol agent.


dontcare: Just one problem with what you're saying.The LEO's DID have probable cause to hold them on the grounds they were suspected of being in the country illegally.

Yes, you are still presumed innocent 'til proved guilty. But right now, we've got a couple of suspected child murderers in jail in Erie County, and though they've not been proved guilty (yet), don't you think we're within our rights to arrest them and hold them on the suspicion they committed the crime?

Doesn't look to me like there's any consitutional violations here. What it LOOKS like is a couple of illegals trying to milk the system for even more than they've already stolen from taxpayers!


The U.S. Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence is splintered over the constitutionality of using fixed checkpoints or roadblocks to conduct warrantless and suspicionless vehicle seizures. The Court has held that the Fourth Amendment allows law enforcement to perform warrantless vehicle seizures at a fixed checkpoint along the nation's border to intercept illegal Aliens, so long as the search is reasonable in light of the "totality of the circumstances". United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 122 S. Ct. 744, 151 L. Ed. 2d 740 (2002). The Court also ruled that roadblocks may be used to intercept drunk drivers. However, the Court rejected on Fourth Amendment grounds the use of a roadblock to perform warrantless and suspicionless searches of automobiles for the purpose of drug interdiction. Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 121 S. Ct. 447, 148 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2000).

When an officer seeks a search warrant, he or she must present evidence to a judge or magistrate. The evidence must be sufficient to establish probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found at the place to be searched. Probable cause is a level of belief beyond mere suspicion but short of full certainty. Whether an officer can establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant depends on the facts of the case. For example, if an arrested person is discovered with a small amount of marijuana, this alone will not justify a search of the person's home. However, if the person is discovered with a large amount of marijuana, the quantity may support the suspicion that more marijuana may be found in the person's home, and the large amount may be used as the basis for obtaining a search warrant.


you have to be a citizen for that to apply. None of this applies to them. I guess you don't understand the concept of citizenship. They are NOT citizens.

Amythe K

get em! Border Patrol has the authority to act as law enforcement within 500 miles of the US borders in some cases. That does not excuse their unecessary detaining of law abiding men and women. If they cant patrol and keep closed the actual borders, these virtual borders give them a chance to flex their muscles.I went through a Border Patrol checkpoint in the west easily 100 miles from the border. I had my dog and cat with me. They had a spastic young scent dog who went apes^^^^ over my dog. They told me to pull over to the side. when I asked why A man yelled "you dont ask questions you get over there and wait!" It was a fully packed car and he had to search the whoooole thing..I had been making great time and was now delayed 2 hours..let me tell you I was not a pleasant passive participant.

The Canadian border is just a boatrip away...I hardly think Mexiican illegals would arrive by way of RT 18

Darwin's choice
PHOENIX -- A growing number of undocumented immigrants in Arizona and other states are taking immigration protests to a new extreme, staging acts of civil disobedience by deliberately getting arrested in order to be turned over to federal immigration officials.

Sponsored LinksOften wearing T-shirts declaring themselves "undocumented and unafraid," the protesters have sat down in streets and blocked traffic, or occupied buildings in several cities including Phoenix and Tucson.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested, but in almost every case, federal immigration officers have declined to deport those in the country illegally. Protesters say they are planning more acts of civil disobedience.

The acts are intended to openly defy stepped-up immigration enforcement that has led to record deportations over the past three years. In Arizona, protesters are focused now on enforcement of a portion of the state's Senate Bill 1070 immigration law.

Thanks Eric Holder and Obama.........


1.  We are on the border - hense the border patrol

2.  Canadians are not the concern - it is people who enter the United States via Canada that are the problem

3.  Northern Ohio is one of the most problematic areas for human trafficking - yet another reason for border patrol

Seen it All

Thank YOU my2.. Northern Ohio is one of the MOST problematic for human trafficking.. OUR little girls are being drugged and taken away and SOLD to the highest bidding pimp in the big cities!

And beyond that..... After 9/11  EVERYTHING frigging changed!  Go ahead and blame it on the current President, but it all happened under Bush.  And WE the People were ALL for it, because we NEVER wanted to see that happen in our Nation again!!

So spout off whatever laws you will... IT ALL CHANGED!   And if they had NO PROOF of citizenship.. and were detained TOO long for their comfort.. OH Friggin WELL!  Next time when they travel, they will learn to carry it like the rest of us, huh?


A Detention is a non-consensual temporary denial of liberty. A police officer must have "reasonable suspicion" that



you are about to commit a crime you are in the act of committing a crime, or
  you have committed a crime

in order to Detain you. The officer has the authority to temporarily deny you the ability to leave while he investigates his suspicion. You may still refuse to answer any questions, but you have no right to leave. The officer must use a reasonable amount of time to investigate his suspicions until the detention elevates to the level of "probable cause" to arrest you. If the officer fails to determine there is probable cause for an Arrest, he must release you in a reasonable amount of time. The courts have determined that what is a reasonable amount of time is relative to the criminal activity being investigated. If you attempt to leave a detention without the permission of the police officer, you may be subject to Arrest. During a Detention, absent certain circumstances, a police officer may not move you to another location or the Detention becomes a de facto Arrest.



An Arrest occurs when the officer has determined that a crime has occurred and that there is "probable cause" to believe you committed the crime. An Arrest is non-consensual seizure of your person. Probable cause has sometimes been defined as "more likely than not," so the threshold is fairly low - the officer does not have to have sufficient evidence to prove your guilt, only that you are likely to be responsible based on objective evidence, such as someone identifying you, or physical evidence, or an admission. During an Arrest, you are still not required to answer any questions and you are not free to leave. You will be taken to jail and/or magistrate after you are Arrested.



Thank you, my2.  Your answer, especially your reference to human trafficking, makes a lot of sense.   

run for the hills's picture
run for the hills

I understand that this is not politically correct, but....if you feel you are mistreated, please go to the country south of us and enjoy your lives down there.

Erie County Resident

Still haven't proven that they are legal or illegal?

Then if they are illegal they have no Constitutional rights, hence no lawsuit.



I think the officers need some more training in spotting what the true dangers to society are.  I don't think that four mexican seasonal farm workers are much of a threat.  I would rather be protected from the drunk citizens who wave their guns around at their girlfriends because they can!


@deertracker  a white woman refused to sit in the same car as my son in law and my beautiful granddaughter at cedar point. she was already in the car and when the operator sat them in the other half she got up and said i dont think so and got back in line!!! my granddaughter is 3  i hoped she never had to deal with  any racist crap but that is not our world

Phil Packer

 Would any of you drive around in another country with no ID, no passport, no "papers?" Are they THAT stupid, or maybe, just illegal?

The truth is that we are ALL here illegally if we're not native "Americans." 

Cracked Cherry

 La Migra!!!


No habla español.


No habla español.


What many of you are arguing are points of law but you are forgetting the very first points of this entire matter: 1. the lady driving had "NO license...just papers that she left at home" (her statement to the first officer). When he asked the men in the car, none of them had a drivers license either. 2. The men refused to answer any questions the first officer asked. "Where they were going, where they came from\, Where they lived". None of them would answer him, including the lady driving. That is why he called the Border patrol to begin with. This isn't rocket science. The police officer tried to get them to tell him and they did not cooperate.
That does not make me believe these people were citizens of this country. So they don't deserve to be treated as US Citzens which means all the arguments on their civil rights is moot. They have no US Constitutional rights at all. PERIOD. They can be detained, questioned and possiby deported by the Border Patrol if need be. They could have come into this country illegally by many methods. If, down by Willard, they were probably working the farms. Many of them come in illegally and then return to Mexico. They have NO rights or defense. This suit will probably be tossed.


Wiredmama, they are humans in America, they have rights and protected by the Constitution, like it or not.


Excuse me. The Constitution of the United States was written to protect AMERICAN CITIZENS. It does not protect those people who are NOT American citizens on this soil. Contrary to what YOU think, the constitution of this country does not protect people who are here illegally or visiting this country. The Constitiution is written ONLY for citizens and our laws are written to protect our citizenry only....they do NOT protect the people who come here to visit or come here illegally.
The woman ADMITTED she had "papers at home". Which indicates to me she had visas or papers allowing her into this country for a temporary time period. That does NOT make her a citizen of this country. She does not have access or rights to our laws, our protection or our legal system.
This lawsuit that she and her friends are filing will probably not even make it past the first hearing as they are not citizens only temporarily allowed to be here under a visa.
Had they all answered the questions they were asked truthfully they probably would not have been detained as long as they were and had they cooperated, they would have been released sooner. But apparantly they didn't. From the sounds of what I read, they were very uncooperative.
So do not confuse the rights of citizens with the righs of temporary visa workers with citizens. They have NO AMERICAN RIGHTS whatsoever. They are Mexican citizen allowed to temporarily work within the US with no US rights whatsoever.

There HUMAN rights were no violated anyway. They were not tortured.


Dear Sandusky Register..... I love the changes you've made. Makes things alot easier to follow in the comments section. (As soon as people comprehend that when you reply to a comment, you simply click "reply" and your reply will appear under the comment in question). Thank you


Illegal immigrants are not immigrants, they are criminals.


THANK you, richrs. That is EXACTLY the point.