Baldwin County defense attorney phone

Federal court blocks parts of Alabama, Georgia Immigration Laws

A federal appeals court has blocked Alabama's requirement that schools determine whether enrolling children are illegal immigrants.

Under the law known as H.B. 56, parents must provide schools a copy of their children's birth certificates. For those who were born outside the United States or can't provide a birth certificate, parents must provide citizenship or immigration documentation. Students lacking those are presumed to be illegal immigrants.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found on Aug. 20 that this provision interferes with the right to an elementary public education in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

The ruling cites the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe that said a Texas law denying free public education to undocumented children violated the clause. In that case, the court emphasized the blamelessness of the affected children and required a higher threshold to justify the effects that a lack of education can have, the 11th Circuit ruling says.

The 11th Circuit specifies that H.B. 56's requirement to provide documentation will deter illegal immigrants from enrolling in school, even though state officials said they would collect the information only to have data about the costs of educating illegal immigrants. But state officials also said the requirement is "unlikely to yield particularly precise data," and inaccurate data would not be useful to forecast costs, the court says.

And while the provision restricts the dissemination of the information families provide, federal law requires states to disclose immigration information upon request. That makes the privacy restrictions "wholly ineffectual," the court says.

In a companion case, the 11th Circuit also blocked other provisions of Alabama's law because they intrude into the federal government's jurisdiction over immigration matters.

For example, the law criminalized illegal immigrants' applications for work and failure to carry alien registration documents.

Additionally, in another Aug. 20 decision, the court blocked part of a Georgia immigration law, H.B. 87, because it penalized conduct related to immigration status that the federal government already regulates.

Georgia's law made it an offense to transport or harbor illegal immigrants, for example. But the federal government already penalizes those actions through the Immigration and Nationality Act, the court says.

Mobile Bayfest 2012

Bay Fest kicks into gear Friday October 5th through October 7th, and the Mobile Police Department would like to emphasize some safety tips, information, and recommendations for the upcoming event.

  • Attend the event with family or friends.
  • Park in designated areas.
  • Secure important belongings inside of vehicles and out of view.
  • Parents should place an identity card in their child's pocket in the event they become separated from one another. The card should provide the name of the child, address, telephone contact numbers and the name of a relative.
  • In the event that parents and children are separated, the children should be instructed to go to nearest police officer.
  • Adults are encouraged to establish a post-event meeting place for family and friends in case you become separated.
  • Wear light clothing, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen or a hat.
  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • A city ordinance strictly forbids glass containers in public.
  • No underage drinking is allowed. Uniformed and special undercover police details will arrest violators.
  • If you need police assistance during the event, advise the nearest uniformed officer.
  • Please cooperate with all requests from police officers.
  • Mobile Police will enforce a "no weapons" policy. Persons found in possession of weapons will be arrested. Pistol permits do not allow possession of firearms during Bay Fest.
  • Uniformed and plainclothes officers will be patrolling designated areas of the crowds to identify and arrest persons engaging in criminal activity.
  • Pets are prohibited during Bay Fest, except for special assistance animals.
  • Skateboards and motorized scooters are prohibited.


In 2011

In all, 24 misdemeanor arrests were made, involving 17 adult suspects and 7 juveniles, police said in a news release. The arrests broke down as follows:

9 were for minor in possession of alcohol.

2 were for second-degree possession of marijuana

8 were for disorderly conduct


Traffic stop leads to 100-pound marijuana seizure in Baldwin County

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama -- A routine early-morning traffic stop led to the arrest of an Ohio man and the seizure of about 100 pounds of marijuana authorities believe was intended for drug markets in the Midwest, Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack said Tuesday.

Jeffery Lee Hamilton, 58, of Lore City, Ohio, is charged with trafficking in marijuana. He was being held in the Baldwin County Corrections Center with his bail set at $1 million, according to jail records.

Hamilton was arrested at about 4:45 a.m. near the 42-mile marker of Interstate 65 north of Bay Minette, Mack said. A patrol deputy noticed that the car Hamilton was driving made several illegal lane changes. After stopping the car, the deputy found that the license tag on the Volkswagen was registered to a Toyota, Mack said.

Investigators searched the car and found about 100 pounds of marijuana in two duffel bags in the trunk.

"We believe that the marijuana in question was delivered to Hamilton in the Mobile area and was probably en route to a location either to Ohio or somewhere in between," Mack said.

The seized marijuana has a street value of about $100,000, Mack said.

The sheriff said that in most highway seizures, officers find 20 pounds or less of marijuana. He said the arrest Tuesday was a significant amount that might occur two or three times a year.

The drugs were packaged in gallon plastic bags, each containing about five pounds of marijuana, the sheriff said. The gallon bags were packed into about 15 larger containers.

"The way that it was packaged and delivered, it's ready for sale," Mack said. "It's ready to hit the street. This marijuana, we believe, is a significant impact for us coming through our county. Ultimately, it probably wouldn't have been sold here. It would have gone to another area, but once again, this shows the significance of the pipeline of drugs as it flows from the southern United States to the north through our interstates, both Interstate 10 and Interstate 65."

The sheriff said Hamilton has not been arrested in Alabama, but has an extensive criminal record in Ohio that includes cocaine possession, felony assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The license tag on the vehicle that Hamilton was driving was registered to a rental car. The sheriff said investigators believe that the suspect acquired the car and drugs at the same time in Mobile.

He said the investigation is continuing and authorities hope to discover the distributors who supplied the drugs in Mobile.

Baldwin County Sheriff's Office launches app for smartphones

Have a question for the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office? There's an app for that.
In an effort to better serve county residents, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office has announced a free smartphone app for Android phones.

"The primary motivator was for people to have accessibility, to be able to send us information immediately — on the road, shopping, at the beach, we just want citizens to have that direct accessibility to the Sheriff's Office," said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack.

The "Contact Us" portion of the organization's website has seen increased usage in recent years, Mack said, with information being provided from users on issues from suspected suspicious activity to specific and more general information and questions.
With smartphone usage more prevalent than ever, the move to offer more options for residents' concerns was natural.

"I think this will be another avenue to answer a lot of these questions, just making this way to communicate with us available," Mack said.

Information that is received through the app will be filtered through two different areas.

"One comes into our dispatch center and the other goes into an administrative review," Mack said. "If it is an emergency, we urge you to do that via the telephone side, not the texting side. If it is strictly an inquiry or general information, it will come into our administrative department and may be subject to a one- to two-day waiting period for us to get to it."

Apple iPhone users won't be left in the cold for long, if Mack has his way.

"We have applied for our app approval through Apple, we are just currently waiting for it to be approved," Mack said. "We've been told two to three months, but the Android app did come out relatively quickly."

"We didn't want to wait to, we wanted to roll this first part out as it was available to us," Mack said.