Magistrate Judge Bruce G. MacDonald, Christopher Lewis Federal Prosecutor, 15 attorneys, 6 marshals, 2 interpreters, clerk, bailiff, Mexican Consulate representative, a few Border Patrol
75 shackled migrants, were in Streamline today including 8 women. 44 people were charged with the misdemeanor of Illegal Entry--1325-- and 31 had the additional felony charge of Illegal Re-entry after Removal—1326.
4 from the 1325 group were dismissed most likely for limited Spanish ability.
Charles Thomas, the lawyer for Maribel Lorena Chilel Yoc 18-36069MP said that his Guatemalan client in her limited Spanish had told him of her fear of returning to her home country. He was putting it on the record, had paperwork for her and said she would have a ‘credible fear’ interview.
This judge does not give country of origin or where a migrant entered into Arizona but only the date of entry. 10 people had entered Arizona 4-7 days before their arrest. One entered on October 9th. It is hard to imagine how after a tough journey, an arrest, a pretty cold, sleepless night and a day in shackles you would be able to understand the deportation law of a foreign legal system and have it be anything like due process.
The representative from the Guatemalan Consulate said there were 20-25 Guatemalans here today.
The lawyers approached the bench after the dismissals. Judge MacDonald told them that he would put on the record any records or requests they had made on behalf of their clients including asylum request. ‘There are a number of asylum requests. They are noted. I will not repeat this unless you think your client needs to hear’. SO, there may be more asylum or credible fear requests than were said out loud.
Judge MacDonald has 14-16 shackled prisoners in his courtroom at one time. He reads the charges, rights and cautions to the whole group and then calls half the group to stand before him with their lawyers and asks each individually two questions—did s/he understand what he—the judge-- just explained and were they acting voluntarily. As he is questioning the second 7 or 8 another shackled group of 14 is brought in, seated directly behind them and given earphones. He repeats the process with this group.
Credible Fear, Asylum
Brandon Rafael Garcia Flores 18-35994MP (Atty David Maldonado) had a credible fear claim on his I213 but had not decided whether to pursue it. Time served.
Carlos Amilrcar (misspelling?) Ambrosio Mendez 18-36031M (Atty Alejandro Muñoz) wanted to pursue credible fear once he arrives at the facility. 30 days.
Arnold Vladimir Perez Lopez 18-36048M (Atty Daniel Anderson) has a fear of returning to El Salvador. He was refused before and doesn´t want to pursue it at this time. 30 days.
Ricardo Ariel Tercero 18-36032M (Atty Juliana Ore-Giron) seemed in rough shape and took extra time to consult with his lawyer. He had entered Arizona on October 9th and wanted to speak to the Honduran Consulate (none here). He said he told the Border Patrol but they wrote down that he wasn´t interested. The lawyer will help connect him with someone. 180 days.
One man proceeded in fluent English. I think it must have been on the judge´s paperwork because he asked Alfredo Sanchez Luna if he was comfortable answering in English even though he told the whole group to answer in Spanish. Answer, ‘Yeah, yeah, I´m good’. He sounded as if he had been here for years but he was only charged with 1325. Time served.
Cristina Paredes Sanchez 18-36008MP (Atty Greta Vietor) had a bandage on her right arm—no explanation. Time served.
6 lawyers put an indigenous language on the record but said their client had sufficient English—some had gone through several years of school in Spanish.
The 31 migrants charged with 1325/1326 were sentenced to 1785 days of incarceration. The sentences were a little higher than they have been lately—17X30, 1X60, 10X75, 1X135, 1X150, 1X180. Most will serve their time in Florence very likely in a private prison.
Judge MacDonald came back to talk to a group of about 20 high school students from Flagstaff on a trip to learn about border/immigration issues. He gave a civics lesson about where this criminal court fits in the issues we are seeing now, coming back again and again to voting—if you don’t vote you don't have a right to complain.
On the decision to shackle again. Shackles challenged on procedural grounds by 9th circuit, vacated by SCOTUS, reinstated with a general order by AZ Judge Murray Snow for groups of 2 or more defendants in the courtroom at one time. This lessens the job of the marshals who must match unrestrained prisoners with one-on-one plus one security. Oh my.