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Judge dismisses activist's suit against Pearce

PHOENIX -- A federal judge has dismissed an immigration activist's lawsuit accusing former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce of illegally barring him from the Senate buildings.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone's ruling on Thursday said activist Salvador Reza was properly barred from the Senate buildings by Pearce after security officials identified him as a person who was disruptive at a hearing.

Martone's ruling says Reza produced no evidence to back up his allegation Pearce barred him because he is Mexican-American. And Martone wrote that Pearce's actions were reasonable given his role in maintaining decorum in the Senate.

Reza was among vocal protesters attending a Feb. 22, 2011 Senate hearing on immigration bills. The next day, police arrested Reza on suspicion of trespassing but he was never formally charged.

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