Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich, 14 lawyers
Observers: One Sam (Katrina Schumacher), two people who stayed for an hour
75 defendants; 37 charged with only illegal entry (1325) including 5 women and 38 with 2 charges including 4 women. The judge did not refer to country of origin.
I only stayed until 3:15 when Judge Markovich had reached case 45. Of those I heard 16 were picked up in or near Nogales, 14 near Sasabe, 5 near Naco, 3 near Lukeville, 1 near Douglas and 1 in Sells.
2 cases were dismissed (language?) and 2 were continued (at least one of those for an interpreter) at the beginning of the hearing. Lawyers noted several other cases with a native first language but seemingly adequate facility in Spanish.
4 of the 1325s were arrested at the Nogales Port of Entry with illegal IDs: Maria Elena Rodriguez Bermudez 27678MP, Jose Eduardo Lara Gonzalez 27674MP, Alma Delia Martinez Reyes 27694MP and Mirna Mendoza Melgarejo 27648MP. All were sentenced to ‘Time Served’ and deportation.
Ismael Garcia Nuncio 277724MP entered in July at El Paso TX and was picked up in Sells on 9/24.
This judge speaks very clearly and carefully and was doing well until he came to his first group of plea bargain folk. I wish I had a recording of what happened next because it showed how far from due process OS is. OS depends on people remembering the correct responses to a set of legal questions interpreted from a foreign language. When we had 75 people shackled in the courtroom, chances are by the time they got to you, you would know when to say yes and when to say no. Now when the judge sees groups of 7 he or she must repeat all the instructions again and again and the likelihood of confused defendants rises.
That is what happened today. The first five people in the group could not get the answers right and repeatedly had to sit down and confer with their lawyers. At one point the judge said, ‘This is going to be a rocky road’. I left at 3:15 after an hour and 45 minutes. They were at migrant 45 and had not finished the first group of plea bargains. I can’t imagine the court in Del Rio TX where the defendant—lawyer ratio is said to be at times 29 to 1.
Last Monday there were only plea bargains—no 1325s. It turned out there was a computer malfunction in the morning and, according to lawyer Anderson, they lost so much time that they dismissed all of the 1325s or ‘petties’ and returned them to the border.