Romley: Certain conditions must be met to prosecute under SB 1070

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PHOENIX -- While Arizona's new anti-illegal-immigration law requires police to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is reason to believe that person is in the country illegally, it does not require the county attorney to prosecute those cases.

Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said he took an oath to uphold all laws and promises he will prosecute suspects arrested under Senate Bill 1070, but only if a number of specific conditions are met.

Romley has sent a list of evidence required to prove guilt under SB 1070 to police chiefs throughout the county.

"It can't be just a gut [feeling]," Romley said in a news conference. "We base everything on evidence. We have to have evidence that this person is here illegally, has been here longer than 30 days, that they're over a certain age. It's not a gut."

For example, if officers believe a suspect has given them false identification, they can take specific steps to prove that the ID is fake and submit that physical evidence to the county attorney.

Romley's office has also provided police agencies with a list of about a dozen questions officers must ask a person in the course of checking his or her immigration status.

Police have already started training to help them determine how and when it's appropriate and relevant to question a person about immigration status. That training, including an hour-long video, was developed by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

The new law is slated to take effect on July 29. That, however, could change base on what happens with the federal lawsuit filed against Arizona over SB 1070.