U.S. District Court Judge James Hartmann has concluded that an identity-theft investigation of tax records meant to ferret out undocumented immigrants violated the law. Hartmann said the warrant–backed by local district attorney Ken Buck that allowed investigators to sift through 5,000 tax files at Amalia’s Tax Service–was improper, meaning evidence will be excluded from the trial of Ramon Gutierrez, a defendant busted in the sting, according to the Greeley Tribune. Currently, 54 cases are pending. The ruling “dovetails” with a civil case being heard this week in which the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Buck and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke for violating privacy laws meant to protect taxpayers from undue government intrusion.