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Judge strikes down parts of Indiana immigration law

By Susan Guyett

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - A federal judge has ruled sections of a 2011 Indiana immigration law unconstitutional, making permanent an injunction against a law inspired by Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The state will forego an appeal on Thursday's ruling, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said on Friday.

The Indiana bill, signed into law by the previous governor, Mitch Daniels, permitted warrantless arrests of non-citizens and prohibited the use of consular IDs as forms of identification.

It was inspired by Arizona's law, known as S.B. 1070 that took over some aspects of immigration enforcement from the U.S. government.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigration Law Center and law firm of Lewis & Kappes brought the class-action suit, contending Indiana's law allowed police to make warrantless arrests based on assumed immigration status and criminalized the usage of a consular identification card.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana said the law violated the Fourth Amendment because it permitted state and local authorities to "effect warrantless arrests for matters that are not crimes."

The rest of the law went unchallenged in this lawsuit and is not part of the judge's ruling.

The state would not appeal the decision although, Zoeller said in a statement, his office is defending a challenge to another section the law in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

Last summer, Zoeller said the warrantless arrest aspects of the Indiana could not be defended following a U. S. Supreme Court decision on the Arizona immigration law.

Last June, the court struck down a warrantless arrest provision of the Arizona law and other aspects while upholding the Arizona law's most controversial aspect, a requirement that police check the immigration status of people they stop, even for the most minor of offenses.

Three state senators then filed motions to intervene in the case and Barker dismissed their motion.

Barker previously issued a preliminary injunction against the Indiana law so it never went into effect, according to Kelly Jones Sharp of the ACLU of Indiana.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Leslie Gevirtz)

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