Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald, federal prosecutor Zachary Wiest, 17 defense attorneys, two simultaneous interpreters, 3 deputy US marshals and a few other court officials.
There were 75 migrants, refugees and probably a couple of undocumented long term residents of the US on the calendar today including 7 women. 46 were charged only with the misdemeanor of Illegal Entry (1325) and 29 had the additional felony charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal (1326). Most were arrested on the day they entered the US or within a day or two. Migrants spent a total of 90 days in the desert before arrest.
This judge does not give country of origin or place where a person entered the US and lawyers did not do this during the hearing. Judge MacDonald addressed 20 prisoners at a time describing their rights, the charges and consequences of a guilty plea. He then called 10 at a time before him and asked 4 questions of each defendant. There were a few earphone malfunctions today with prisoners having to wait for the next group to hear the instructions again.
8 people were dismissed without prejudice at the beginning of the proceedings. This is usually because they speak an indigenous language, most likely from Southern Mexico or Guatemala, and the charges against them are not serious enough to get an interpreter.
7 defendants asked for a Credible Fear Interview—2 whose cases were dismissed, 4 from the misdemeanor group and 1 from the felony group. For the most part the lawyers did not elaborate on their request but just put it on the record.
Jose Luis Arias Lopez 19-28359MP (Atty Daniel Anderson) requested CFI. Dismissed.
Denis Terencio Sevilla Caliz 19-28400MP (Atty Peter Raptis) is asking for a CFI. Dismissed.
Angel Venalonzo Martinez 19-28298MP (Atty Daniel Anderson) CFI request. Time served.
Juan Mariano Cruz Irias 19-28301MP (Atty Myrna Beards) CFI request. Time served.
David Estuarto Soto Mejia 19-28368MP (Atty Grace Goodman) CFI request. Time served.
Johana Beatriz Estrada Miranda 19-38377MP (Atty George Soltero) CFI request. Time served.
Arnoldo Perez Lopez 19-28347M (Atty Peter Raptis) requested a CFI which was reflected in his I 213.
Usually there is more commentary about CFI requests. Today the judge put some of these on the record himself, reading from the paperwork in front of him as the group was leaving. I feel that having groups of 10 with 10 lawyers behind discourages comment by lawyers or their clients. The last time I saw this judge, he was seeing groups of 7 at a time.
Felix Lopez Zeferino 19-28351M (Atty Greta Vietor) is being held as a material witness and did not appear in court at all.
Brayan Alejandro Almengor Orpinel 19-28410 (Atty Grace Goodman) is a fluent English speaker and his questioning was done in English despite the judge having told the whole group that because they were using interpreters they needed to answer in Spanish. He had spent 15 years in Colorado, was returning from a time in Mexico and was caught crossing the fence. 150 days.
Rodolfo Garcia Lira 19-28297M (Atty Jessica Ruiz) was wearing a paper disposable shirt and needs medical care. He was instructed to request care when he arrived in Florence. 60 days.
26 migrants were sentenced to 1845 days of incarceration in federal prison—most likely a Core Civic facility in Florence AZ.
Visitors/observers: One woman came late and left but did not appear to be a family member, one GV Sam.
- Katrina Schumacher