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Judge: Hazleton Plaintiffs Unnamed for Safety

Judge Munley said he had good reason to allow these four illegal immigrants to remain anonymous

By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In America, land of opportunity, an illegal immigrant can anonymously sue a city and win.

It happened last week in federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where a judge struck down the city of Hazleton’s laws aimed at evicting illegal immigrants.

Four of the eight individuals who sued Hazleton were in America illegally. All received protection from U.S. District Judge James Munley, who allowed them to bring their case against the city without being identified publicly.

Judge Munley said he had good reason to allow these four illegal immigrants to remain anonymous as their lawyers fought Hazleton’s ordinances in court.

“Trial testimony indicated the intense public interest in the ordinances led at times to harassment and intimidation that created fear even among those with a more secure social and legal status than the anonymous plaintiffs,” Judge Munley wrote in his decision.Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta said the judge’s decision was fundamentally unfair. People in the country illegally, he said, received protection from a court that is supposed to uphold the law.

Mr. Barletta also said he was dismayed because illegal immigrants were able to remain nameless and faceless as they joined a public trial.

“In America, I thought you had the right to face your accusers.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07210/805333-85.stm

2007-07-29

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