The Denver sheriff’s department is looking at how it communicates with immigration officials after Ever Valles was arrested on suspicion of murder last week.
Valles, 19, faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of 32-year-old Tim Cruz at a light rail station in Denver. Valles bonded out of jail last December on a car theft charge. Immigration officials had asked the sheriff's department to alert them if Valles was going to be released because his criminal history made him a deportation priority.
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That request "wasn't honored," when Valles made bail, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.
DSD disputes that claim. A fax from the office on the night of Dec. 20 shows ICE got about a half-hour warning that Valles would be leaving the jail. Immigration agents did not come to pick him up.
Sheriff’s spokesman Simon Crittle said that despite the fact Valles secured bail earlier in the day on Dec. 20, department policy is not to alert ICE until it's certain an inmate will be released.
"It's a long process, it takes time," said Crittle. "But rest assured, with this situation, almost immediately after Ever Valles had cleared all those checks and hurdles, ICE was contacted."
Still, the department plans to meet with ICE and review its policy.
"This has been a tragic event. A man just lost his life. And we need to make absolutely sure that we are doing everything we can to try to minimize anything like that happening again," said Crittle.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that jails cannot hold undocumented immigrants once they make bail, unless ICE gets a warrant from a federal judge.
Crittle said that did not happen in Valles' case.
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