WOODSTOCK – Attorneys on Tuesday voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit claiming McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim and the sheriff’s office violated an Illinois law that protects a person from being detained based on their immigration status, in favor of pursuing the matter in federal court.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Illinois Trust Act on Aug. 28. The law prohibits law enforcement from giving immigration officials access to an inmate or holding a person based solely on their immigration status.
In an official statement Wednesday, Prim said Crystal Lake law firm, Kililis, Ridings & Vonau’s decision to voluntarily dismiss the class action immigration lawsuit confirmed the sheriff’s belief that he did not violate state law.
“The end of this legal action underscores my contention that we have followed the law and continue to follow the law,” Prim said. “As I stated on the day this controversy first began: ‘Public safety [is] our foremost consideration.’ ”
Niceforo Macedo-Hernandez, 46, of Crystal Lake argued in the lawsuit that Prim disobeyed and ignored state law by detaining him and threatening to detain others without a basis to do so.
Defense attorney George C. Kililis said he has bigger plans to see justice done for Macedo-Hernandez, who was taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and transferred to a facility in Juneau, Wisconsin, after being arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
“I will never – if I live to be a million years old – I will never never let this case go,” Kililis said. “And if anything, the decision to dismiss the lawsuit was strategic, because we don’t think we’re going to get justice in McHenry County, and we are going to go to the federal court.”
Kililis plans to file a new lawsuit in federal court Friday, asking for damages and accusing the sheriff of conspiring to deprive Macedo-Hernandez his rights.
“He can do with his statement whatever he wants. He’s won nothing,” Kililis said of Prim.
Prim could not be reached after hours to comment on the prospect of a new lawsuit.
Lawyers with the Jenner & Block law firm filed the original lawsuit in September on behalf Macedo-Hernandez and two unnamed men.
Macedo-Hernandez, who was scheduled to appear in McHenry County court Sept. 5, had already been taken into ICE custody.