Sometimes the meek get crushed like bugs. Sometimes, long after they should be forgotten, they’re still around to bedevil the mighty.
Consider the Danbury 11 and Mayor Mark D. Boughton. The former were 11 Hispanic day laborers arrested on immigration charges in 2006. Mr. Boughton, in his fifth two-year term, has been endorsed by the Connecticut Republican Party as its nominee for lieutenant governor.
Almost three years after 10 day laborers filed a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the sting that led to their arrest, the case is still causing problems for Mayor Boughton, who asked that his deposition scheduled for next week be delayed until after the November election. The plaintiffs strenuously objected.
Maybe Mr. Boughton, as he contends, is too busy to testify. Maybe, as the plaintiffs’ brief suggests, he’d prefer that the case disappear until after the election. And does the law grant special “I’m-too-busy-campaigning” exemptions? All, it seems, are sidelights to the case and the policies around immigration, which as Arizona reminds us, remains an issue where it’s still not entirely clear how the politics plays out.
In February, the plaintiffs began seeking depositions from Mr. Boughton and his former top aide, Michael McLachlan, who is now in the State Senate. Mr. McLachlan is scheduled to give his deposition Friday and Mr. Boughton next Wednesday.
In a motion filed June 14, their attorney sought a delay, arguing that “both campaigns, especially, of course, the campaign for lieutenant governor, will require intensive preparation over the next several months.” On Wednesday, the judge denied the motion.
THE plaintiffs, represented by the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School and the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, have presented depositions from local and federal officers meant to dispute the mayor’s contention that the city merely assisted federal officers in a legal sweep. They argue that there’s no support for the notion that the defendants are too busy campaigning to be deposed. Instead, they suggest, the real reason may be political — “so that they will be able to offer the electorate public bravado,” in dismissing the allegations without having to respond under oath.
Mr. Boughton’s immigration stance has many supporters locally, but, post-Arizona, the broader politics seem uncertain. Immigration put the mayor on the map politically, but it’s nowhere on his campaign Web site. As for being too busy, being mayor and campaigning can indeed be taxing though perhaps not as arduous as scrounging for work doing day labor. Mr. Boughton was unavailable for an interview Wednesday; he was playing in the annual Mayor’s Cup Golf Tournament.
Too busy to testify but not busy enough to participate in a golf tournament...or campaign around the state.
Come Wednesday it's time for the liar mayor to put up or shut up.
On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.
The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.
Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.
Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.