Manuel’s habeas corpus bid was denied on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell turned down arguments by Manuel in his request for release from detention finding that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had probable cause to detain him “at any appropriate time” after he was ordered to be deported in 2006.
“That probable cause is independent of his claims of retaliation and constitutional violations by the state agencies,” Judge Drell said. “ICE’s current detention of Duran Ortega is not somehow invalidated by whatever occurred on April 3, 2018, or nor is it affected by his allegations of retaliation.”
The suit was filed in April, after Manuel was arrested by the Memphis police on April 3, 2018, while reporting on a protest against the alleged practice of detaining immigrants and handing them over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to the complaint, Duran Ortega’s detention was intended to “punish and suppress his speech as a journalist,” in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and he sought release from LaSalle Detention Center in Louisiana, where he has been since April 5.
“It is frustrating that the government persists in imprisoning, for months on end, a respected journalist and beloved community member who has committed no crime and whose deportation has been stayed by the immigration courts,” Michelle Lapointe of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an attorney for Duran Ortega, told Law360 on Wednesday. “While we’re disappointed by the court’s decision not to order Manuel’s release from detention while he fights his immigration case, we will continue to advocate for him and the First Amendment principles he stands for.”