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Law grad fights for ICE detainees and wins

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law alumna Elizabeth Bonham (JD ’15) staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio in Cleveland, successfully fought for the release of 21 people held by immigration authorities in four Ohio jails as COVID-19 cases spiked at the facilities. 

Bonham said her office received piles of letters and panicked messages from families who had loved ones in area jails, because the pandemic was spreading like wildfire behind bars.

“Nobody should have to get sick with such a dangerous disease, absolutely nobody. But these are people who are being held on an alleged civil offense…. They’re not being accused of a crime,” Bonham stressed. 

Bonham and her team filed federal lawsuits against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and subsequently won the release of 21 people from Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Morrow County Jail in Columbus, Seneca County Jail in Tiffin and Geauga County Jail in Chardon.

Still, her work continues.

“I’m heartbroken for the many folks we couldn’t help,” Bonham said. “This is still happening to people, we’re still fighting, and I always maintain hope that our elected officials will do the compassionate, commonsense thing and further decarcerate.”

Also in this Issue...

Quarantined in China

Alumna Carrie Kidd (BA '17) sat in an airport in Wuhan, China, during an eight-hour layover on the night of December 30, 2019. As she waited for her next flight, she scrolled through Chinese news sources on her phone. Suddenly, she spotted a headline with Wuhan in the title. Read more >>

Alumnus and Cleveland judge cuts jail population in half amid growing coronavirus fears

Amid concerns about the spread of COVID 19, Judge Brendan J. Sheehan (JD ’93) worked to move vulnerable populations out of the Cuyahoga County Jail.  Read more >>

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