Judge dismisses Bologna family lawsuit

February 24, 2010 12:42:33 PM PST
A lawsuit filed against the city of San Francisco by the surviving family members of a father and two sons who were fatally shot in 2008 has been dismissed by a superior court judge.

Judge Charlotte Woolard ruled Monday that the surviving members of the Bologna family can't sue the city for allegedly harboring accused murderer Edwin Ramos from federal immigration authorities under the city's sanctuary policy.

"In California and in other jurisdictions, it is well established that public entities generally are not liable for failing to protect individuals against crime," Woolard wrote in a 12-page ruling.

Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, were gunned down in their car at an intersection near their home in the Excelsior District as they drove home from a picnic on June 22, 2008.

Police said the family was mistaken for rivals by Ramos, an alleged member of the MS-13 street gang. Ramos, who has pleaded not guilty to the murders, is still awaiting trial.

In their lawsuit, the Bologna family contended that although Ramos, a native of El Salvador and alleged illegal immigrant, had been previously arrested multiple times for violent and drug offenses, including as a minor, the city failed to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The suit also claimed San Francisco's sanctuary policy violated state and federal law.

In 2008, the city changed the policy and began reporting juvenile offenders to immigration authorities.

"On the basis of well-established case law, the court found no basis for the plaintiff's negligence claims, and no liability on the part of the city or its taxpayers," said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

The Bologna family also filed suit in federal court, but that suit was dismissed last year after a U.S. District Court judge "reached virtually identical conclusions," Dorsey said.

"This was a monstrous crime and a terrible tragedy, and we have profound sympathy for the Bologna family's loss," Dorsey added.

An attorney for the Bologna family was not immediately available for comment this morning.


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