Cost of defending SB 1070 tops $1M - East Valley Tribune: Immigration

Cost of defending SB 1070 tops $1M

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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 8:25 pm | Updated: 8:08 pm, Thu Oct 28, 2010.

Lawyers defending the state's new immigration law already have tallied more than $1 million in bills.

And that's as of the end of July.

New figures released Wednesday by the governor's office put the legal bills for just July at $621,846. That is the most expensive month since the lawsuits were filed after Gov. Jan Brewer signed the new law in April.

It also comes on top of more than $442,000 already paid to the law firm of Snell & Wilmer for prior work.

So far, though, none of that has affected the state treasury: Brewer's office reports that a defense fund she set up already has collected more than $3.6 million in donations.

About two-thirds of that has come through the mail, including a check for more than $1.5 million from Timothy Mellon.

He is the chairman of Pan Am Systems, the railroad company that is all that is left of the now-defunct Pan Am Airways. He also is an heir to the Mellon banking family fortune.

Repeated efforts to contact Mellon have been unsuccessful.

What's left, nearly $1.5 million, was donated through a website set up to take credit card donations.

The big bill for July is no surprise, as that includes the preparation for and actual hearings before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton over whether the law should be allowed to take effect. She eventually enjoined the state from enforcing key provisions of SB 1070, including a section to require police who have stopped someone to check that person's immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion'' he or she is in the country illegally.

Bolton's ruling will be reviewed Monday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Preparation for that hearing, coupled with the expenses of sending the legal team out of town, is likely to result in large bills for October and November.

Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said the size of the legal fees should be no surprise.

He pointed out there actually were eight separate lawsuits filed challenging all or parts of SB 1070. Senseman said there have been to close to 1,200 separate filings in those cases, running to more than 14,350 pages.

While issuing an injunction in one case -- the one filed against the state by the U.S. Department of Justice -- Bolton has dismissed three of the other seven cases.

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