Judge Jaqueline Rateau , Federal lawyer Christopher Lewis, 15 lawyers
The 75 shackled defendants included 10 women. 25 were illegal entry only (petties) and 50 were charged with 1325 and 1325—illegal entry AND reentry. 30 people were picked up near Sasabe, 15 near Naco, 15 near Nogales, 8 near Douglas, 3 near Lukeville and 1 near Amado.
Observers: Denise Brennan, an anthropologist at Georgetown, two couples who left early and one GV Samaritan.
The judge started at the beginning of the 10 page court list with the 1325 group and went one page at a time with defendants before her varying from 6 to 8 with their lawyers. Three were dismissed right away perhaps for language though the causes were not mentioned.
All of the 1325 group were given time served except Isaias Santos Lopez (24899MP) who got 180 days. The federal lawyer asked for time for him because of a prior record. Many of the 1325 group have lived in the US without incident for years but this is the first time they have been picked up entering. In this case, lawyer Lewis said Mr. Santos had shown ‘brazen disregard’ for our laws. Lawyer Washington argued that that was in time past and the defendant should be treated like others in this group. Mr. Santos also spoke for himself in English. The judge looked at Mr. Santos’ record and said that with DUI, Domestic Violence, and controlled substance possession convictions she would not give him ‘time served’.
The judge did not mention country of origin but there were at least three from Ecuador and one from Guatemala. A Mam speaker Luis Robelio Lopez Jimenez (24941MP) was taken alone because of concerns about his understanding of Spanish. Two Ecuadorians, Angel Fernando Ortiz Sislema (24954MP) and Juan Fernando Tenezaca (24955) had something to say about home conditions but I could not hear the conversation. There were three people with the name Tenezaca on the list and I imagine they were all related.
There were 50 in the 1325-1326 group. There were no requests for asylum or requests for incarceration at a specific location although the latter may have been in writing. Two defendants spoke in English and did not use their earphones. One man Samuel Vasquez Moreno (24959M) appeared very young but said he was 23.
Judge Rateau sentenced 3555 days of incarceration. That is almost ten years. At $161 per day as the cost of jailing a prisoner that’s $ 572,355 for one day out of five in Tucson Arizona which is one sector out of nine on our southern border. One small positive note—we talked to defense lawyer Cheryl Blum after the hearing. She said some of her Central American clients were grateful for the jail time as conditions in their home countries were so dangerous. With all that gold maybe we could find some real solutions.
Dr. Brennan asked to talk with lawyer Cheryl Blum after the hearing and Ms. Blum was amazing! She grew up in Mexico and the US and still travels extensively in Mexico. After the OS hearings she calls the families of her clients. She is not a fan of OS or the criminal court system here in general. She urged us to go see some of the cases that go to trial which are conducted often with no observers. She called OS ‘palliative legal care’. Immigration law has sucked the air out of the room in border areas creating huge backlogs. She spoke of a town in Sonora about 70 miles south of Sasabe, Altar, where the whole economy is built around migrants and facilitating border crossings. She showed us the point system used to figure out sentencing. I wish we could get her to come and talk to us at the Sams. Also, Dr. Denise Brennan will be here until August 2 and it would be good to ask her to come to a meeting and talk about her work.