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Case Name Jacobson v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-AZ-0024
Docket / Court 4:14-cv-02485-BGM ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
On November 20, 2014, two residents of Arivaca, Arizona and volunteer members of a community organization called People Helping People (PHP) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ... read more >
On November 20, 2014, two residents of Arivaca, Arizona and volunteer members of a community organization called People Helping People (PHP) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The plaintiffs alleged that DHS interfered with their “checkpoint monitoring campaign” at a Border Patrol checkpoint approximately 35 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the ACLU, sought declaratory and injunctive relief for alleged violations of their First Amendment rights.

The complaint stated that Border Patrol operated an interior checkpoint on Arivaca Road in Amado, Arizona. The plaintiffs and other members of PHP commenced a campaign near the checkpoint to protest it by observing, photographing, and videotaping Border Patrol agents’ actions at the checkpoint. The plaintiffs contended that the campaign was a reflection of the “local residents’ growing concern about Border Patrol activities in their community, including harassment and civil rights violations by federal agents at the checkpoint.” The complaint stated that in response to the campaign, Border Patrol agents barred the plaintiffs from the public area near the checkpoint, required them to conduct their campaign “at an unreasonably great distance from the checkpoint,” and threatened to arrest them.

By consent of the parties, the case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Macdonald on February 12, 2015.

The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction on January 6, 2015, which the court denied eight months later on September 14. The court held that the government's policy was “a valid time, place, and manner restriction on speech,” and the plaintiffs therefore could not meet their burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits. The court found that the government’s primary interest was “in protecting the safety and security of Border Patrol agents, canines, and the public,” and held that it was important not to jeopardize the purpose of checkpoint stops to conduct criminal investigations “so critical to the fair administration of justice.”

On November 2, 2015, DHS moved to dismiss the case, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. On September 30, the court denied the motion to dismiss after finding that the plaintiffs had stated a First Amendment claim upon which relief could be granted. However, the court then granted summary judgment in favor of DHS, finding that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated any dispute as to the government’s assertion that the checkpoint was, in fact, a non-public forum.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit on November 29, 2016. Oral argument was held the following winter on December 5, 2017. On February 13, 2018, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded for further consideration, finding that the record before the district court did not warrant its conclusion, as a matter of law, that the enforcement zone was a non-public forum or that the government had satisfied the requirements for excluding the plaintiffs from the area. The Ninth Circuit instructed that on remand, the parties should conduct discovery to allow the district court to make such determinations.

On remand in the district court, the parties filed a series of several status reports indicating that while the parties had not discussed settlement since a July 24, 2018 conference, they remained willing to consider potential settlement options.

On July 15, 2020, the plaintiffs sought sanctions against DHS. The motion was based on “(1) Defendants’ destruction of key documents and (2) Defendants’ submission to the Court of a declaration, on which the Court relied on multiple occasions, which lacked foundation for critical statements.” This motion is pending before the court.

Virginia Weeks - 01/22/2018
Virginia Weeks - 02/13/2018
Sam Kulhanek - 04/14/2019
Bogyung Lim - 08/07/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Border police
Constitutional rights
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) U.S. Border Patrol
Plaintiff Description Two plaintiffs protesting border checkpoint
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 11/20/2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Jacobson v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
ACLU of Arizona
Date: Nov. 20, 2014
By: ACLU of Arizona
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Ariz.
IM-AZ-0024-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Ariz.
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief for Violation of Plaintiffs' First Amendment Rights [ECF# 1]
IM-AZ-0024-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
Order [ECF# 54]
IM-AZ-0024-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
Order [ECF# 93]
IM-AZ-0024-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# BL-48] (882 F.3d 878)
IM-AZ-0024-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bates, John D. (D.C. Circuit, FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
Ikuta, Sandra Segal (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Macdonald, Bruce G. Court not on record show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0002 | IM-AZ-0024-0003 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Smith, Milan Dale Jr. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brody, Kathleen E. (Arizona) show/hide docs
Dashe, Christina E. (California) show/hide docs
Ebadolahi, Mitra (California) show/hide docs
Ebanks, Tracy (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Edman, Joel (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Forrest, Ethan (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Furnish, Brenda Munoz (Arizona) show/hide docs
Guerrero, Sarah (California) show/hide docs
Jaganathan, Neha (California) show/hide docs
Lopez, Victoria (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Loy, John David (California) show/hide docs
Lyall, James Duff (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Peard, William Bradford (Arizona) show/hide docs
Pochoda, Daniel Joseph (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Taub, Winslow B. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0024-0001 | IM-AZ-0024-9000
Thompson, Sarah D. (California) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Beckenhauer, Eric B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Newton, Emily Sue (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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