Arizona Proposition 102 states that:
A PERSON WHO IS PRESENT IN THIS STATE IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW RELATED TO IMPROPER ENTRY BY AN ALIEN SHALL NOT BE AWARDED PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN ANY ACTION IN ANY COURT IN THIS STATE.
There is a difference between compensatory and punitive damages. This boils down to is the following analysis.
A person who wins a civil lawsuit may receive two types of damages-compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the injured party for the injuries sustained by making good or replacing the loss caused by the injury. Punitive damages are awarded in excess of compensatory damages to punish the person sued for a serious wrong and to discourage others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
Proposition 102 would prohibit a person who wins a civil lawsuit from receiving punitive damages if the person is present in this state in violation of federal immigration law related to improper entry.
I'm of a mixed mind on this Proposition. First off I am in favor of compensatory damages if someone is injured, even an illegal alien. As for punitive damages, I am for them but against illegal aliens receiving them. However, in the case of a business that hired an illegal alien they should be punished. The illegal alien in no way should benefit though. So I'm against punitive damages if illegal aliens receive the funds. So in essence I am in favor of Proposition 102.
If an illegal alien comes on your property and is injured you could end up facing both types of damages, both for their injuries and as punishment if you are at fault. This is not fair as the illegal alien is not even supposed to be here in the first place and the incident wouldn't have occurred if they weren't.
It's unfair to place this burden on the American people, both citizens and legal residents.
Businesses who hire illegal aliens though need to be punished severely. Maybe we should allow punitive damages, but the awards have to be given to a fund to combat employers who hire illegal aliens. Seems like a fair deal to me since it would be a self correcting situation. As more punitive damages are awarded there would be less employers hiring illegal aliens and therefore less lawsuits.
I do have to state that in the end I would vote against Proposition 102. Not because of the intent of the Proposition - which is to ensure that illegal aliens don't profit from the punitive damages - but because the damages should still exists and be awarded, but be given to the government organization that combats the related fault.
That is not declared in Proposition 102 and therefore I cannot support it.
Let's take a little look at those both for and against this proposition over at the Arizona Secretary of State Website (I have bolded some points). First those in favor of Proposition 102.
It makes no sense for a person who breaks the law by illegally entering and remaining illegally in the United States to profit from a civil proceeding. Plain and simple: courts of law should not reward lawbreakers. We discourage illegal immigration when it is broadly known that the courts of Arizona will not overlook any person's illegal status. By enacting this referendum we discourage illegal aliens from suing American citizens with the expectation of receiving big rewards.
The Honorable Russell Pearce, Arizona House of Representatives, Mesa
Paid for by "Russell Pearce 2004"
Pretty cut and dry there. Don't reward illegal aliens.
We have had occasion in this state where an activist judge has taken the private property from a citizen - who took reasonable strong action to protect that property from illegal incursion - and actually given the property to the illegal alien. This type of action by activist judges should be an affront to all Arizonans. It is obvious that we must enact Constitutional protection against this outrageous judicial action. This ballot measure is a reasonable protection for private property rights in Arizona.
**Paid for by Goldwater for Governor Committee.**
Don Goldwater, Goldwater for Governor, Laveen
If it takes an amendment to the constitution to stop activist judges from giving property of the citizens of this country to illegal aliens, then I am all for it and you should be to. Activist judges piss me off.
Let's take a look at those against Proposition 102.
Proposition 102 is misguided and mean spirited. It may sound good at first, but careful review shows its flaw: It would protect wrongdoers, like drunk drivers. We use punitive damages to send a message that Arizona will not tolerate certain behavior.
... it would undermine the purpose of awarding punitive damages by demonizing the victim. If Proposition 102 passes, a drunk driver with a long history of unsafe driving could hit an undocumented immigrant and essentially get off easy by avoiding punitive damages... Making sure that drunk drivers avoid punitive damages will not make the community safer.
State Rep. Steve Gallardo, District 13, Phoenix
OK, nobody likes drunk drivers. Rep. Gallardo is trying to appeal to our general distaste for drunk driving incidents. He does show that he is pro illegal alien though with his use of the term "undocumented immigrant" and he stands against other Propositions on the ballot that crack down on illegal immigration.
What would I do in the case above? The illegal alien would receive general medical care and compensation and then be immediately deported. The drunk driver would be put behind bars and fined punitive damages that would go towards government drunk driving awareness programs and other things that fight against drunk driving like law enforcement and highway safety.
I don't think the illegal alien should get a dime in punitive awards.
Rather than rewarding the illegal alien we should still punish the drunk driver, but at the same time try to end the cause. Maybe tougher jail sentences for drunk driving incidents which injure people could be put in place as well. With this solution the drunk driver receives the same punishment Rep. Gallardo is so worried he will avoid, but at the same time we don't reward illegal aliens for breaking our laws.
Punitive damages are only awarded when the court finds by overwhelming evidence that a person or company "acted with an evil mind, an evil heart and an evil hand".
Those [Prop 102] will protect? The worst of the worst, those proven to be acting with an evil heart, mind and hand!
Jon Hinz, Director, Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform, Phoenix
Paid for by "FAIR"
I have to agree that the way Proposition 102 is written now that those who knowingly put illegal aliens at risk won't be monetarily punished.
If this doesn't pass maybe legislators can come back with a better Proposition next time which still awards the punitive damages for illegal aliens, but specifies where the funds will go rather than into their hands.
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Arizona Proposition 102 passed!