DeConcini Federal Court, a criminal, not immigration, court (1:30-3:00)
Magistrate: Jacqueline Rateau
U.S. Federal Prosecutor: Lewis
Two Public Defenders
Samaritans: Mary Willcox, Sheryl Scheller, Sara Busey
Visitors: 8 from Tucson League of Women Voters
With no OS court on Friday, today’s session held a full house of 75 migrants. Only 3 were first time crossers. Two were excused due to lack of interpreters and 2 had their cases continued.
No migrant spoke up during the proceedings, except one who pointed out he wasn’t the man listed on the roster, but did have a similar last name. (Interesting that neither the magistrate nor lawyer caught this error beforehand!)
Lawyers for 2 migrants said their clients had a “credible fear” of returning to their country:
Daniel Anderson reported that Benito Gomez-Mendez (18-20825M) wasn’t asked about fear in his intake by Border Patrol, but was by his lawyer Juliana Ore-Giron that morning and was given a paper with instructions on how to request asylum. He plans to give it to Immigration after he serves his 60 days in prison.
Nylsa Guadalupe Botiller-Cruz (18-20795M) also expressed fear. Her lawyer, David Valdez, said she speaks perfect English, was brought to the US when she was age 10, but because she has 2 felony convictions on her record was given the unusual (for a women) maximum sentence of 180 days. Valdez had given her an I-13 form. She was picked up near Whetstone, north of Sierra Vista, Az.
The 86 sentenced migrants will spend a total of 5040 days in mostly private prisons at a cost to US taxpayers of $811,440.
(We shared our new OS informational sheet with the LWV’s and were encouraged when one said, “Instead of 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, we need 5,000 more Samaritans!”)