Judge D. Thomas Ferraro, 14 lawyers
A group of about 12 from the Loretto (?) Ministries from Tucson and El Paso with a No More Deaths person from Tucson; the pastor and 3 grown sons or relatives of one of the prisoners and I were observing.
I spoke with the pastor before the proceedings. His parishioner—a woman—had been picked up with a minor traffic infraction on her way to church. She had been in the US years and had grown children. When we entered she and her lawyer and another detainee were in front of the judge. The other person was arranging an initial appearance in a couple of weeks (I have trouble hearing these separate conversations and was told by this bailiff that the earphones were not for the observers). Her case was dismissed—not sure why. There may have been another lawyer there for the family. As she was leaving thru the side door one of her sons got up and called out, ‘Ma’. She turned around and when she saw him looked like she would cry. The person I think may have been another lawyer went out the back door with the family.
So, 57 prisoners were on the list and there in shackles—arms, waist and ankles including 5 women. There were 24 from Guatemala and 2 from El Salvador. No asylum requests were made in court. 30 were picked up in the Sasabe area, 10 near Nogales, 6 Douglas, 3 each near Lukeville and Naco and 1 each Tucson and Hereford—missed one or two.
A few lawyers mentioned language concerns but in most cases it was deemed that the prisoners understood the plea bargain—lawyers like to get the language concern in the court record as it may be helpful to their client at a later date. One defendant, Efrain Mejia-Santos—16-30522—looked very young to everyone and had a different first language. The government lawyer asked that his case be dismissed and he was to be returned home. The Judge and his lawyer admonished him not to return.
A few people requested a certain prison—one to Washington State and these were granted but no guarantees. All total 3,135 days of incarceration at $161 a day comes to $504,735 plus the 14 lawyers, 2 interpreters, court offices, border patrol personnel—what could we do with all that gold.