There is a landmark case that is being challenged in Southaven, Mississippi, over constitutional rights. Ismael Lopez, an undocumented immigrant, was accidentally shot by police on July 24th, 2017. After a lengthy court battle, a Grand Jury ruled in favor of the city, saying the police officer and city were exempt from any guilt because of the immigration status of the person who was shot. The city argued that Lopez had no constitutional rights due to his undocumented status. The ruling attempts to set a new precedent, claiming that the U.S. Constitution does not protect undocumented persons. Lopez was shot in his mobile home park in Southaven, Mississippi. Police knocked on Lopez’s door by accident, instead of their intended domestic assault suspect, and began shooting. Lopez had already died from a gunshot wound to the head by the time paramedics had arrived.
The Constitution typically protects people under these circumstances. The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fourteenth Amendment provides equal protection for all citizens under the law. The attorney for the police officer involved in the shooting as well as the city, Katherine Kirby, successfully argued that Lopez lacked protections under these amendments. The Lopez family attorney, Wells, has argued that all people on United States territory have constitutional rights, giving Lopez rights through the 14th Amendment.
A motion from court documents explained this idea, stating that Ismael Lopez’s lack of citizenship in the United States when he was shot voids these rights. As a result, it said, there was no legal grounds for this case based on his status as undocumented. Lopez was a 41-year old auto mechanic who also mentored teens and fixed friends and neighbors’ cars for free.
The family of Lopez filed a civil action lawsuit in response to the jury’s decision and is seeking $20 million in damages for his wrongful death. The civil lawsuit was filed in June 2019. Attorneys have stated that Claudia Linares, Lopez’s widow, will be unable to sue due to her status as an undocumented immigrant. Murray Wells, the attorney for Linare, says that this interpretation of the Constitution that excludes non-citizen residents impedes the process of due process and for what the Constitution stands. He continues by saying that he was disgusted by the decision of the Grand Jury. Attorneys also accused Linares of not actually being married to Lopez, which was disproved by her attorneys when they filed her 2003 marriage certificate. There has been controversy over the city’s accusations towards Linares and her lawyer asked the judge to consider sanctioning the city for their actions.
“This could lead to a slippery slope effect that could affect similar cases. Such a ruling goes against past rulings that state that all persons in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, are protected by the U.S. constitution,” says immigration attorney Natalia Segermeister of Price Benowitz LLP. This controversial ruling could potentially be sanctioned under Federal rules of procedure.
5 Things to do in Maryland
The East Coast of the US has a lot to offer, and although might not be top of the list for everyone, there are so many reasons why you should visit Maryland. Head to Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore – explore the harbour, or visit the beach to experience the excitement of the amusements. Immerse yourself in history with the range of museums and monuments that Maryland has to offer. Here are the top 5 things that you can do when visiting Maryland.
1. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
If you’re a sports fan heading to Maryland, visiting Camden Yards is a must. Home to the Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards was opened in 1992, it’s a retro-style park and it has been from the day it was built! If you’re planning on visiting this old-school stadium, you’ll be headed right into the heart of Baltimore’s inner harbour, with a huge variety of things to see and do, experiencing an Oriole’s game means you can experience this quaint park, as well the stunning harbour surroundings. Soon, you’ll be able to place moneyline bets online in Maryland, so you can add a whole new level of excitement to your favourite baseball games.
2. Ocean City Boardwalk
Baltimore’s boardwalk is one of the best in the country, so if you’re looking for things to do in Maryland, this should be top of your list! The boardwalk itself dates to 1902, but it is still one of the most exciting places to visit this day. Situated right on the beach, there’s an abundance of fun to be had here, and a lot of the time, the activities are free!
Morning or night, you can guarantee there is always something to see and do. You can head to the amusements, with arcades that are fun for the whole family, or if you’re more of a thrill-seeker, ride the rollercoaster or take in the stunning views from the top of the Ferris wheel. If you’re hungry, you’ll want to try Maryland’s famous crab cakes or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, the saltwater taffy or hot funnel cakes might be more your style. The boardwalk has something for everyone, shops, amusements, and food – not to mention the beach!
3. Maryland Science centre
A trip to Maryland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Maryland science centre. Fun for both kids and adults, you can immerse yourselves in all things science. With three levels of exhibits, you can delve into learning more about astrology, palaeontology, physics and how the human body works. One of the most stunning attractions at the science centre is the rooftop observatory that allows you to explore the night sky. The planetarium is also not to be missed – an Imax theatre which features films on all things from space to butterflies.
4. Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry is well worth a visit for history experts and novices alike. This fort was built to defend Baltimore Harbour from a British attack in 1814. It has since then been named a ‘National Monument and Historic Shrine’. The Fort is open to visitors and is a must-see. When visiting you can choose one of the many tours to ensure you get the most from your time here, you can choose to pay for entry, or just take it all from a walk along the path near the bay.
The visitor centre itself has artefacts and information, as well as a 10-minute film on the fort’s history that is not to be missed. Make sure you walk around the fort before you enter the grounds, and you’ll get to see canons that were used in World War 2.
5. Baltimore National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is considered one of the best in the Nation – so when planning your trip to Maryland, set aside some time to explore the thousands of animals it has to offer. The aquarium is situated in the Inner Harbour, so is easily accessible. Here, you can explore the depths of the ocean, the rainforest and more! This aquarium has it all – watch the sharks circle, the various species of birds take flight and watch the crocodiles snap. When visiting, you can choose a guided tour or just take your time, soaking up all that this attraction has to offer.
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