Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco, Federal Prosecutor Christopher Lewis - 1:30 - 3:00
5 federal marshals, 1 contract security and 3 plain clothes security, 2 simultaneous interpreters and more
There were 75 migrants on the docket including 3 women. 30 were charged only with the misdemeanor of illegal entry (1325) and 45 had the additional felony charge of illegal re-entry after removal (1326).
20 migrants were from Guatemala (a representative from the Guatemalan consulate was there in the morning), 5 from Honduras and 1 from El Salvador. Most of the rest were from Mexico. 7 men were dismissed at the beginning and 1 continued to await a Nahuatl interpreter. We did not hear their country of origin.
32 migrants were arrested near Sasabe, 16 near Nogales, 11 near Naco, 2 near Douglas and 1 each near Lukeville and Ruby. The rest were dismissed or I did not hear. 5 people spent between 5 and 7 days in the desert before arrest.
The 27 illegal entry defendants remaining were sentenced to time served. Three people asked for a Credible Fear interview.
*Rigoberto Calderon Villeda 18-30829MP (Atty Richard Bacal) from Honduras was given a petition. Atty Bacal noted giving his client a legal form, put it on the record and asked that he be allowed to keep it. Time served.
*David Enrique Munoz Lopez 18-30830MP (Atty Daniel Anderson) from El Salvador was also given a petition and his lawyer asked that he be allowed to retain it.Time served.
*Rolando Mendoza Ramirez 18-30840MP (Atty David Valadez) from Guatemala requested a Credible Fear interview. His lawyer put this on the record but gave him no papers. Time served.
The plea bargain group of 40 (after dismissals) were sentenced to 2600 days of incarceration or more than 7 years--$418,600 to support the Arizona prison industry.
Observers: Xavi from Borderlinks with a group of 15 adults from St. Nicolas Parish in the Chicago are, one GV Sam. A group of administrative officers and auditors were on the lawyers’ side. They are checking out various court rooms to see if our tax dollars are well spent. One lawyer told me that they had everyone on their toes.
Judge Velasco came over to answer questions.
Someone asked where he found satisfaction in his job. Speaking to groups is one area. He likes to meet people, answering questions about what they are seeing and urging them to vote and get active if they want to make changes.
On the irony of the job—We celebrate pioneer days and people travelling unchartered country as this country was settled. We don’t value some of the toughness and courage we see here.
Many of the people we see are poor people who don’t have responsive governments. Part of the reason the governments are not responsive is that we haven’t wanted them to be. We have a history of Banana Republic thinking.
Someone asked Judge Velasco what was the differnce between him and other judges. He said, If another judge was here today, court would still be in session.
My poor brain has not done justice to what he said—I either need a tape recorder or to learn shorthand.