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PHOENIX -- A March 18 hearing has been set for an appeals court to hear arguments over an Arizona law that denies bail to people who aren't authorized to be in the country and are charged with certain felonies.

A three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously rejected a challenge to the law, but the challengers succeeded in getting an 11-member panel of the court to consider the case.

The 2006 voter-approved law denies bail to people who are in the country illegally and charged with certain felonies, such as murder, sexual assault and even aggravated identity theft.

Critics said the law violates equal-protection guarantees.

Proponents said the law prevents people who aren't authorized to be in the country and skip out on their bail from committing future offenses.

Associated Press,

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