OPERATION STREAMLINE January 30, 2019
Magistrate Judge Leslie Bowman, Federal Prosecutor Zachary Weist, 16 attorneys (14 CJA, 2FPD), 3 US Marshals, BP in the adjoining room, 2 interpreters and a few other court personnel
75 defendants on the docket with only one woman. 44 were charged with the misdemeanor of Illegal Entry (1325) and 31 had the additional charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal (1326). This judge gives only the date of entry into Arizona, ‘I understand that you are not a citizen of the United States and on January 28, 2019 you entered into Southern Arizona from Mexico without permission and without being inspected at a port of entry. Is that true?’ The defendants have three ‘Yes’ answers and one ‘Guilty’.
2 people entered Arizona 7 to 10 days before their arrest. 15 people were from Guatemala according to the Guatemalan Liaison.
Credible Fear Interviews/Asylum Requests.
There may be more and these were not emphasised. When Judge Bowman addressed the lawyers she said she would make all the recommendations and not mention them in court.
19-21579MP Manuel Esquipulas Tambriz (Atty George Soltero). Time served. I am not sure if he was asking for a CFI.
19-21591MP Roberto Xavier Chillpe Muevecela (Atty Peter Matiatos) was going to ask for a CFI. His lawyer said his client was not asked about fear of return to his country and not told he could talk to someone from his consulate. Time served.
19-21632MP Olman Antonio Diaz (Atty Tamara Mulembo) wanted a CFI. Time served.
13 shackled migrants/refugees were standing before the judge to be dismissed as the hearing started and all were dismissed without prejudice. This is usually because the migrant speaks an indigenous language and the charge is deemed too unimportant to warrant an interpreter.
Judge Bowman addressed the lawyers saying she would make the recommendations requested and would not ask if they or their clients had anything to say but they were free to speak up.
She calls 10 prisoners before her at a time with their 10 attorneys behind them. 10 more migrants enter from the next room as she begins her questioning and sit directly behind the lawyers. I asked a lawyer later if that didn’t feel crowded and she said it was horrible and she didn’t know why the judge had started doing the hearing this way. Judge Bowman told us one day that she liked doing 10 at a time because it helped her keep her focus.
Putting information/requests on the record is often done as a group is finishing up and with 30 people in a small space it seemed a difficult task. During the hearing there were times when either the lawyer or the defendant was not present. Twice she ended up with 11 instead of 10. A few times lawyers were taking over for each other because one had to run upstairs to another client in another courtroom. This seems to be happening because more 1325-1326 defendants are being sent to individual criminal court.
During one pause as we were waiting for a defendant to be found in the next room, Attorney George Soltero spoke up. His client Mr. Fuentes Reyes, was wearing a puffy jacket with no shirt underneath and had been in that jacket for three days. Mr. Fuentes told his lawyer that Border Patrol had directed them to choose either their shirt or jacket or sweatshirt and put the rest in the backpack or bag confiscated by the BP—who knows when they’ll get that back. The migrants in court have one top item of apparel, no shoelaces, no belt and 5 point shackles. Judge Bowman said that some judges were meeting with people from the Mexican Consulate Thursday and they could bring that up as well as any other issues lawyers might have.
27 migrants in the plea bargain group were sentenced to 1,530 days of incarceration (15 X 30, 4 X 60, 5 X 75, 1 X 105, 2 X 180).most likely in Florence in a private prison.
Observers/Visitors: A woman was with one of the lawyers but I don’t think she was a relative. One man came and went. After Streamline he asked one of the lawyers about this ‘circus’--did the defendants really know their charges, consequences and rights?? One GV Sam, Katrina Schumacher.