October 19, 2016
Magistrate Eric Markovich
Samaritans: Sara Busey
Magistrate Markovich explained their rights to each group of 8-10 migrants who came before him. They were represented by criminal justice (not immigration) attorneys who each defended 3-4 migrants. In Markovich’s unique system, a lawyer comes to the bench with all his clients at one time, allowing him/her to be out of the court room on other business the rest of the court proceedings. It is a boon for lawyers, but a maddening system for observers who must frantically check the rooster to see who is actually before the magistrate.
Markovich seemed sensitive to migrants’ needs, urging one dizzy man to take a seat, asking a lawyer to get water for his client, recommending certain prison location requests made by migrants, even making a joke which had all the migrants laughing.
Two of the 7 women were excused with time served and sent to immigration for return to their country. No mention of country of origin, but points of entry into the U.S. were: Menagers (a remote area on the Tohono O’odham Nation next to the border), most near Sasabe and others near Douglas, Nogales, Narco and Lukeville. Together the 48 migrants will spend 2775 days in prison at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $446,715.
Lawyer Patrick Doyle told the magistrate his client Rolando Garcia-Ordenas’(16-29130M) primary language was Mam, but he and the interpreter believed Rolando understood Spanish well enough to proceed with trial. Markovich, however, disagreed and set a court date in 2 weeks to allow a Mam interpreter to interview Rolando. (Mam is an ancient indigenous Mayan language spoken by half a million Guatemalans, but also in Chiapas, Mexico, and by thousands in California and D.C. Never written, because the Spanish prohibited a written Mayan language, it has a great many dialects.)
Lawyer Ore-Giron reported that her client Silvino Reyes-Mendoza’s paper work was inaccurate. She assumed that the Border Patrol agent who processed Silvino spoke no Spanish because he listed him as single, when he was married, among other mistakes. Lawyer Joel Parris said his client had been given the wrong form by Border Patrol. It stated he didn’t want his belonging back when he was released from prison. The lawyers corrected these mistakes.
A new Marshall must have been on duty today. He forgot to invite us in at the beginning and said head phones were only in Spanish, not English. But he did find one for me, warning that it was a special favor and not to request one again.