NEW YORK — An appeals court in New York says a U.S. citizen detained for more than three years in a bungled immigration case cannot sue for damages.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached the conclusion in a 2-1 vote. The ruling blocks 32-year-old Davino Watson from receiving $82,000 awarded by a Brooklyn federal court judge for his 2008-to-2011 incarceration.
A majority opinion written by Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs found “no doubt the government botched the investigation” but saw no malice in the case’s handling. The judges noted the government misidentified Watson’s parents and misinterpreted the law.
In a scathing dissent, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann decried the lack of legal representation for immigration detainees.
Attorney Mark Flessner says his client suffers from health issues related to his detention and is thus unemployed.