A U.S. District judge has set a trial date in the case of the illegal immigrant who gave birth while in custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
Attorneys for Metro and Juana Villegas agreed to a case management order filed Monday that sets deadlines for various filings through the summer and fall. A separate motion asked U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. to set a trial date for March of next year.
Haynes signed those orders Wednesday, setting the trial date for Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The final pretrial conference is set for Valentine’s Day.
Villegas’ story made national headlines after a Berry Hill police officer pulled over Villegas July 3, 2008, for allegedly changing lanes without a turn signal. Villegas was nine months pregnant at the time and on the way to a doctor’s appointment. Her three children — 2, 11 and 14 — were also in the car at the time.
She was taken into custody for an immigration violation when the officer checked her citizenship using the controversial 287(g).
Villegas gave birth three days later at Metro General Hospital while in guarded custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office — shackled to her bed at times during labor, following the birth and during her recovery.
A guard on duty just before she gave birth released her from shackles while he was on duty, according to court filings, but she was later restrained again.
In a subsequent lawsuit, she claims her rights to due process were violated and that she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Villegas filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee last March, naming Metro, the DCSO and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as defendants. Homeland Security oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which implements 287(g).
The DCSO has used the 287(g) for the past three years. It allows local law enforcement to screen the immigration status of anyone arrested.