Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald, 15 lawyers
Observers: One Sam (Katrina Schumacher) and two daughters of one older defendant.
75 migrants including 5 women—20, 1325 only, 55 plea bargains. The judge did not mention country of origin. 15 people were picked up near Lukeville, 14 near Nogales 12 each near Naco and Sasabe and 11 near Douglas. 4 people had about a week between the day they said they entered the country and the day they were picked up.
Javier Cano Medina 28054M (lawyer James Smith) is the father of the two young women who were in court. He lives in Tucson. They had hired a lawyer for him and the court date was set for October 26—no bail. The judge left the plea open.
8 people were in the first group. 6 were dismissed; one 1325 and five others—language?. One more plea bargain, Juan Gomez Perez 28115M was dismissed during the hearing. He appeared not to understand and lawyer Lerch argued that Spanish was his second language and he did not seem to understand the proceedings sufficiently.
Jorge Vera Lira 28083M—lawyer Doyle—was seen with the first group of 8 and again during the proceedings. The BP lawyer asked for time due to prior record in LA some years ago. Lawyer Doyle replied he had already served that time. The felony Illegal Re-entry was dismissed and he was given ‘time served’.
William Donaire Gamez Ramos 28044MP—lawyer Washington--was only a 1325 but continued until October 10th—not sure why, no bail.
Arturo Reyna Meraz 28079M—lawyer Lacsamana-- is an English Speaker. Answered in English and was presented to the judge by his lawyer as an English speaker.
I heard no asylum request. A few language concerns were put on the record by lawyers and a few incarceration recommendations were made by the judge.
The judge sentenced 3810 days or 10 and one half years. At $161 per day is $613,410 for one day in Tucson AZ—one sector out of 9 sectors of our southern border.
Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich, 14 lawyers
Observers: One Sam (Katrina Schumacher), two people who stayed for an hour
75 defendants; 37 charged with only illegal entry (1325) including 5 women and 38 with 2 charges including 4 women. The judge did not refer to country of origin.
I only stayed until 3:15 when Judge Markovich had reached case 45. Of those I heard 16 were picked up in or near Nogales, 14 near Sasabe, 5 near Naco, 3 near Lukeville, 1 near Douglas and 1 in Sells.
2 cases were dismissed (language?) and 2 were continued (at least one of those for an interpreter) at the beginning of the hearing. Lawyers noted several other cases with a native first language but seemingly adequate facility in Spanish.
4 of the 1325s were arrested at the Nogales Port of Entry with illegal IDs: Maria Elena Rodriguez Bermudez 27678MP, Jose Eduardo Lara Gonzalez 27674MP, Alma Delia Martinez Reyes 27694MP and Mirna Mendoza Melgarejo 27648MP. All were sentenced to ‘Time Served’ and deportation.
Ismael Garcia Nuncio 277724MP entered in July at El Paso TX and was picked up in Sells on 9/24.
This judge speaks very clearly and carefully and was doing well until he came to his first group of plea bargain folk. I wish I had a recording of what happened next because it showed how far from due process OS is. OS depends on people remembering the correct responses to a set of legal questions interpreted from a foreign language. When we had 75 people shackled in the courtroom, chances are by the time they got to you, you would know when to say yes and when to say no. Now when the judge sees groups of 7 he or she must repeat all the instructions again and again and the likelihood of confused defendants rises.
That is what happened today. The first five people in the group could not get the answers right and repeatedly had to sit down and confer with their lawyers. At one point the judge said, ‘This is going to be a rocky road’. I left at 3:15 after an hour and 45 minutes. They were at migrant 45 and had not finished the first group of plea bargains. I can’t imagine the court in Del Rio TX where the defendant—lawyer ratio is said to be at times 29 to 1.
Last Monday there were only plea bargains—no 1325s. It turned out there was a computer malfunction in the morning and, according to lawyer Anderson, they lost so much time that they dismissed all of the 1325s or ‘petties’ and returned them to the border.
Recently at El Comedor migrant dining hall/aid station in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, there appeared a frightened man with a New York accent. He had been caught up in a raid by I.C.E. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) at a Yonkers, N.Y restaurant where he was a chef. Deported immediately without identification or money, he spent a month in a detention center.
The gentleman had been brought to the U.S. as a baby. He is bilingual, a high school graduate and was attending a community college. Given a list of possible job opportunities in Nogales by Comedor hosts, it is greatly hoped that his luck will soon change. By Judith Whipple
Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 15 lawyers
Observers—1 Sam and a group of about 15 from the U of A with their professor.
47 migrants including 5 women, all from Mexico except 3 from Guatemala and one from El Salvador.
THERE WERE NO 1325 ONLY IN THIS GROUP—JUST PLEA BARGAIN CHARGES (Today, Tuesday, there are 35 with only 1325 and 23 with two charges).
Back to Monday; 14 people were picked up near Nogales, 11 near Naco, 7 each near Lukeville and Sasabe, 5 near Douglas, 1 each near Sierra Vista and Hereford and 1 at a port of entry.
People were brought in without shackles, 7 at a time. No charges were dismissed.
Francisco Arias Luna 27387M, lawyer Vargas, spoke at length in English about being here since high school(?), trying to live in a lawful manner and having a baby here. The judge said he could not change the 180 sentence but that Mr. Arias could take his case to trial. He (Mr. Arias) talked to his lawyer, came back at the end of the calendar and accepted the plea.
Jesus Guadalupe Ortiz Dimas 27424 M was asking for asylum and lawyer Kincaid wanted it on the record though her client’s request could not be addressed until he was back at immigration. 30 days.
Ignacio Escalante Matias 27411M may also have requested asylum—I could not hear what lawyer Doyle said to the judge.
Andres Marrufo Rodriguez 27443M (lawyer Vargas) may have entered June 15 and been picked up September 17.
Jose Luis Casillas Martinez 27445M (lawyer Valdez) was picked up at a port of entry.
Judge Ferraro sentenced 3870 days with 11 people getting 180 days. That amounts to ten and one half years of incarceration.
What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Gail Frank
Before leaving for my Oregon summer, I set up a community presentation on the work of the Green Valley Samaritans. I sent the Sam’s-in-a-box materials ahead and did my research on border issues. About 40 people attended my first presentation in Manzanita, Oregon, and I would say they came because they were interested in the topic and trusted my voice as I have been a member of the community for over 25 years. There were attentive and asked excellent questions.
I was then approached by the vice-president of the local Democrats club and asked to give the talk again at their August meeting. Over 100 people were in attendance including five Oregon lawmakers, three of whom were scheduled to talk after my presentation.
Between the two events, $500 was raised for the Samaritan cause, and people left with comments like:
“Your talk made me want to get in my car and drive to Arizona to help.”
“I want to say how impressive, professional, informative and stirring your talk was.”
“You are a pro. Your talk was really, really informative.”
I would encourage any Samaritan who has an opportunity to give such a talk in their home town. Story by story, we can make a difference in this world.
Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins, 15 lawyers
Observers: One Sam and a group of 10 to 15 students from Prescott College taking a class in Border Issues.
The group of 75 migrants/defendants included 8 women. 26 people were charged only with illegal entry and mostly given ‘time served’. 49 were charged both with 1325 and 1326. This judge makes no mention of country of origin or where the person crossed into the United States. About 10 people gave an entry date more than 5 days before they were picked up.
I think this was Judge Kimmins’ first session with unshackled prisoners who now go before the bench no more than 7 at a time, hands clasped behind backs. She is very thorough and now had to repeat everything 12 times.
José de Jesús Conchas Bermudez 27092 MP (lawyer Anderson) was picked up at a Nogales port of entry with a false ID—time served.
Librado Ramirez Hernandez 27117MP (lawyer Ore-Giron) is a juvenile—dismissed.
Edgar Rafael Martin Martin 27070M (lawyer Lerch) continued incarcerated while awaiting Mam interpreter.
Julio Cesar Lopez Merino 27089M (lawyer Portillo) made a long statement about the health of one of his children and his need to get home. The judge repeated that she could not modify the sentence—105 days.
Alonso Barajas Contreras 27124M (lawyer Torralba) refused the plea bargain and was held over for an initial appearance.
The judge mentioned that several requests for incarceration at a certain facility would be honored (no guarantee). Several migrants spoke a native language which their lawyers put on the record.
The 49 people in the plea bargain group were sentenced to a total of 3,570 days—almost 10 years. In addition to the personal hardship, the cost to tax payers ($161 per day of incarceration) is $574,770 for one day of Streamline out of four in Tucson Arizona representing one sector out of 9 on the southern border.
Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco, 15 lawyers, 1 Border Patrol lawyer, a bailiff, a court recorder,
2 Mexican consulate representatives, 2 interpreters, 3 Federal Marshals, 3 ICE, 2 Border Patrol
1 Sam observer—I hope the rest of the potential observers were at the DACA meeting.
The 75 migrants on the docket included 4 women. 23 were charged with only 1325—illegal entry and 52 were charged with 1325 and 1326—illegal reentry. 6 or 7 people were from Guatemala, the rest from Mexico. Of the arrest sites mentioned, 23 people were picked up near Naco, 15 near Sasabe, 10 near Lukeville, 9 near Nogales and 6 near Douglas. 2 people were picked up more than 4 days after the date given for entry. They went before the judge in 11 groups, unshackled, up to 7 at a time.
Three cases were dismissed and two continued at the start of proceedings. Usually this is for language. The 2 who were continued, Pedro Gianini Lopez 26872MP and Kevin Nieto Mejia 26854MP were both from the 1325 group and the continuance was requested by BP lawyer Mr. Lewis.
Librado Tecpile Tecpile 26865Mp (1325)—lawyer Joe Machado-- has requested an ICE deportation hearing (I may have made a mistake in my note and this might apply to Alfredo Romero Salazar 26861MP—lawyer Raymond Panzarella).
Judge V. mentioned 12 incarceration requests including one for Indianapolis and one for Goshen NY. The Bureau of Prisons has the final say.
Aldo Hernandez Hernandez 26826M spoke at length assuring the judge that he would never return to the U.S. or attempt to enter and asked for a reduced sentence. The judge told him that he could not alter the sentence—150 days—but that Mr. Hernandez could plead not guilty and take his case to court. Judge V. asked him why he wanted to be incarcerated in Goshen NY.
Oscar Garcia Casarez 26906M—lawyer Bours—is a juvenile and his case was dismissed.
Judge V. sentenced 3,870 days—10.6 years. At $161 per day as the cost of incarceration that’s $623,070. The Mexican consulate representative contacts the families and lets them know the outcome and how to contact or send money to their family member.
Magistrate Judge Jacqueline M. Rateau, 14 lawyers, one Border Patrol lawyer, a court recorder, two interpreters, a bailiff, 2 consular staff, 3 Federal Marshals. 3 ICE security guards, and assorted Border Patrol guards. I may have missed somebody.
There are 7 Magistrate Judges who have this duty—one week at a time.
Observers: One Sam and a reporter from the associated press from Phoenix
There were 63 migrants including 6 women. 19 were charged with only 1325 and 44 had both charges. The judge did not mention the country of origin. 21 people were picked up near Nogales, 21 near Sasabe, 7 near Lukeville and 6 near Naco. A couple were mentioned only as being picked up in Southern Arizona. 10 migrants gave entry dates at least a week before they were picked up.
Judge Rateau saw them in 10 groups beginning with 5 who were dismissed—all part of the plea bargain group. There was no discussion as to why.
Maria Mercedes Rangel Zavala 26595MP and Pedro Garcia Cruz26597MP were both picked up on August 27 trying to enter at the (Mariposa?) Nogales Port of Entry with other than their own ID. They were given ‘time served’. I have only seen inclusion in OS of people picked up at the gate for the past few weeks.
For the new method, this hearing went very fast (90 minutes) with a few notes on language put on the record by lawyers and a recommendation for incarceration. This judge asks fairly complex questions such as, ‘Mr. Lopez Zavala, has anyone threatened you or made any promises other than those in the plea agreement that you signed? (defendant needs to answer ‘No’), And you Mr. Nava Fierro. And you Mr. Vivas Garcia’…and the judge goes down the line without repeating the question. One defendant had malfunctioning earphones and she had them replaced without finding out what the man had missed.
Perhaps this method is better because it highlights the inhumanity of the whole system when people are treated as numbers or names on a docket. On a day like today lawyers have 4 or 5 clients which is much preferable to the 29 clients to 1 lawyer you might find in Del Rio, TX.
Those in the plea group were sentenced to 2255 days or about 6 years total probably served in private prisons. At 161$ a day that’s $363,055—all that gold.
Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich, 14 lawyers, 2 interpreters, a court reporter, 2 consulate personnel;
one Border Patrol lawyer, 2 ICE guards, 4 U.S. Marshals, a bailiff, 2 Border Patrol and one generic guard
Observers; One Sam and family of three for a client of lawyer Day for part of the proceedings
There were 75 on the list including 5 women. 27 were being charged only with illegal entry and 48 migrants were also charged with reentry. The judge did not mention country of origin. 26 migrants were picked up near Sasabe, 20 near Nogales, 6 each near Douglas and Naco, 5 near Lukeville and 1 near San Pedro (on Tohono O’odham land 50 miles from the border?). 10 migrants were picked up more than 6 days after they said they had entered the U.S.
Now that there are no shackles in the courtroom, migrants are brought before the judge 7 at a time with hands clasped behind their backs (not enforced). There must be a comparable number of law enforcement officers—ICE, U.S. Marshals, Border Patrol in the courtroom. Today there were 13 groups and the judge must repeat the instructions each time which means much longer proceedings. Today the hearing took 2 hours and 40 minutes. This judge speaks very clearly and questions each person individually but the questions would be difficult for someone not familiar with the drill to understand and the system depends on how the lawyers have coached the client to answer once s/he has decided on a plea bargain—you don’t say ‘Culpable’ until the last question.
7 migrants were dismissed at the beginnings of the proceedings with no reason given.
25 migrants charged only with 1325, illegal entry, were given ‘time served’ and deportation. 2 of these had been picked up coming through the port of entry in Nogales. The border patrol lawyer, Christopher Lewis, said that Fausto Baltazar Solorza Nava, 26355MP, had 2 priors but his lawyer Ms. Day argued that they were very old and he got ‘time served’.
The 48 migrants taking plea bargains got a total of 2700 days—about 7 years, half a million dollars to private prisons and many disrupted lives.
Victor Manuel Orrantia Luna 26314M, lawyer Torralba, originally did not want to plea but changed his mind during the court session. 165 days.
A caravan of transgender migrants seeking asylum in the United States has arrived in Nogales, Sonora. Many of the 14 are from Central America. All show signs of torture. Margo Cowan is part of their legal team. Volunteers from Tucson and Green Valley are helping with the documents. They plan to cross as a group in the near future.