Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald,
16 Attys, Cassidy James Federal Prosecutor, 3 Federal Marshals
There were 75 migrants on the docket today including 4 women. 12 were charged only with Illegal Entry (1325) and 63 had the additional felony charge of Illegal Reentry after Removal (1326). This judge only gives the date of entry into Arizona. 36 migrants were arrested the day they entered. 5 people entered Arizona 4 to 10 days before arrest. Although nationality only came up in passing there were several Guatemalans and two from Ecuador.
11 migrants were dismissed; most because they spoke an indigenous language and did not have a serious enough case to merit an interpreter. One of these was from the 1325 group and 10 from the plea group including 2 during the hearing. It is unusual to have this many dismissed from the plea bargain group.
In addition to these 10 attorneys put an indigenous language on the record.
Ms Cassidy objected to dismissal for three people. She said the prosecutors had been directed to sentence migrants to some time if they had been deported during the last year even with the language issue. The judge said these three had no record and he would dismiss them. He spoke to a few more to assess fluency in Spanish and dismissed two of them.
Judge MacDonald addressed the group of lawyers telling them that he had all their requests about location of incarceration and deportation and other issues and he was not going to repeat them. They could put something on the record if they wished their client to hear it.
Each judge is doing things a little differently. This judge had 14 (plus or minus) prisoners seated in shackles and addressed them as a group. Then he called 6,7,or 8 in front of they to ask about their understanding of the charges, consequences and terms of the plea agreement. There was one asylum case put on the record in court.
Mariana Cervantes Aparicio 18-38700M (Atty Jessica Ruiz) from Mexico has a fear of returning home. She had applied before and lost but wanted to try again. 30 days.
53 migrants were sentenced to 2655 days of incarceration. That’s more than 7 years supporting our private prisons.
I talked to one of the lawyers about the instructions some judges have been giving. He said the judges have been saying not to put CFIs or asylum requests on the record unless they feel the client needs to hear it. Also since they can no longer send petitions or other paperwork with the client it makes it more difficult to help. He thinks they need a scanner in the courtroom so the petition and other supporting material can be scanned right there and sent to ICE or CBP. Especially with the misdemeanor clients there is very little time to contact immigration.
There was one other observer who came late and left. She may have been connected with one of Ms. Ruiz' clients.