Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 14 lawyers, Christopher Lewis for the feds
Observers; one GV Samaritan, Kayla Rutlege—a reporter from Flagstaff, a large group of about 20 young people came in after the hearing had started.
69 were on the list; 35 charged only with 1325 and 34 with both charges. There were 6 women, 47 Mexicans, 5 from Honduras, 7 from Guatemala and 2 from El Salvador. 21 entered near Nogales, 16 near Sasabe 13 near Lukeville, 8 near Douglas and 2 near Naco.
8 people were dismissed as soon as the judge entered and are not counted here.
The judge called the 8 to the bench first with their lawyers. There were some from the 1325 group and some with two charges. Lawyer Trull said most were dismissed for language concerns. Silverio Aguilar Olvera 24056M had his case continued and set to appear later in the month.
This judge divides the group into two groups and started with the 1325 group first. All the prisoners were shackled—wrists, ankles and waist. One of the lawyers announced before the session started that there was a stay on the mandate concerning the shackles and there would be no decision for 90 days. The mandate was not yet granted.
All of the 1325 defendants took the plea bargain and were given ‘time served’.
Gaudencio Valderanos Lopez 24063MP and his wife asked to be deported together.
The second group—1325,1326,--were brought in after the first group had left.
Ronald Josue Castaneda Nieto 24034M from El Salvador said he had fear of gangs if he was returned to El Salvador. He had been threatened and left the country. This was put in the record. I couldn’t hear very well but usually people seeking asylum or having credible fear are told to talk to immigration after serving the sentence or perhaps his lawyer can help him to get a credible fear interview while he is still incarcerated.
Jose Abel Vega Villegas 24058M was on crutches—I don’t know why.
Israel Lopez Lopez 24075M addressed the court and asked for a reduction of his 180 day sentence. He has 3 children including a sick child and needs his income for treatment. The judge explained he has no leeway in sentencing. He says Mr. Lopez can go to trial instead but the outcome may well be worse as Mr. Lopez has an old assault on his record. The defendant took the 180 days.
Judge Ferraro sentenced this group to 1770 days of incarceration. At $161 per day that is $284,970 for one day out of four court days in Tucson which is one border sector out of nine.
This judge is very speedy. The federal lawyer did not ask for incarceration for the 1325s and the lawyers did not say much. Somehow it seems even more inhumane but really there is no way to make this system look like due process.