Archive Page 2

12
Nov
10

Observation from Karen Friedman

Observation form Court ROom 1, October 15th, 2010
I find myself thinking the court is doing an acceptable job of dealing with these cases (for the most part) and as much as I can tell by dropping in and out of the case presentations. The real problems in detention probably exist in the detention process and facilities. How is that dealt with by this your organization?

Case in point: Last Friday a woman detainee was presented via video to Judge Cuentes. She was about in her 50s, had been detained as an illegal while riding in a car with someone else. It was not known if there was a traffic violation involved. She has been detained in the McHenry detention center (jail?) for six weeks. Apparently, this was her first bond hearing — I don’t know the facts of this case because, as I said, watchers drop in and out and details of each case are sketchy for us. This seemed to me an unreasonably long time for a person like this with no criminal record (except illegality — she is Guatemalan) — she did not appear to be a threat to any community. I would like to find out what happened in that case. UNFORTUNATELY, I did not get her name — her name came and went quickly in the discussion. The list of detainees had been removed from outside the courtroom door by the time I left.
However, if I had all the information, what would the follow-up be? Probably it is too late for this person but her situation is likely not uncommon — how does this kind of court watcher observation move through your organization’s system ?

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10
Nov
10

Observations, Jim Hoffman, OFM

Court Watch report, 11/4/10, Immigration Court Rm. 2. Judge Dimarzio, ICE Lawyer, Dan Roth

R-8 Via TV COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: 2005 first entry. Born May 1986. TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used. OUTCOME: VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE by Nov. 10 ISSUES: R did not have a copy of his Notice to Appear. A copy was faxed to him. Removability was established. ICE said R has no criminal record. R married. His wife is illegal. He has Mexican child.
R worked in construction. R does not know if his employer has filed for worker permits for him. Judge gave R Voluntary Departure and Judge again explained Voluntary Departure in detail but his explanation differed from the explanation given to R-7. Also, R-7 was given 120 days to leave by voluntary departure. R-8 was given a week to carry out Voluntary Departure.

R-9 Via TV COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Born 5-21-73. Entered US at El Paso Dec. 2, 1981 as a lawful permanent resident. TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used. OUTCOME: CONTINUED to Dec. 15 ISSUES: His conviction Record; (1) sentenced to 5 years for a violent crime and (2) Possession of a “look alike substance” with intend to distribute. ICE wants to look into his conviction record. R has contacted NIJC for a lawyer but they have not accepted “a collect call” when he calls. Judge asked him to keep trying to get a lawyer. R does not know his parents. He was raised by his grandparents in the US whom he calls dad and mom. His grandfather is a US citizen. R is trying to find out if his grandfather was a US citizen before R was born and did they legally adopt him. Because of conviction (1), R is ineligible for voluntary departure. Judge asked R if he feared being deported to Mexico. R responded: “Friends of mine who have been deported to Juarez tell me that I will either have to work for the drug cartels or be killed.” Judge gave R and I589 form so he could apply for a Withholding Order from Deportation. Judge told R to fill out the form completely and send in 4 copies. R should also get records of his grandfather’s citizenship and copy of his entry paper at El Paso. Without a lawyer, to get the papers from El Paso may be difficult. ICE said that R has to get the documents from EL Paso

R-10 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Since 1990 TIME IN DETENTION: LAWYER: Present (Jacob Otanga). INTERPRETER: Not used. OUTCOME: CONTINED to Dec. 20

ISSUES: Master Calendar (Setting) Hearing. Removability established. R admitted to one drug possession. R has a petition in state court pending for a dismissal of a conviction. The ruling will come Dec. 15. Two young women were present in court.

General courtroom conduct: professionalism of judge, attorneys, staff, etc. . Judge gave R-8 Voluntary Departure and Judge again explained Voluntary Departure in detail but his explanation differed from the explanation given to R-7. Also, R-7 was given 120 days to leave by voluntary departure. R-8 was given a week to carry out Voluntary Departure.

I credit the judge for recognizing with R-9 the danger of deporting people to Mexico.

Other happenings of note not covered above or any other comments. I don’t know how an incarcerated person with no lawyer will ever get any documents from US government agencies. I don’t know if it is arrogance on the part of US agencies or just plain they are too busy to reply, especially if person is incarcerated. This is perhaps another flaw in administrative courts when you are “guilty until you prove your innocence”.

10
Nov
10

Observations and info, Jim Hoffman, OFM

Observations from Immigration Court Room #2 October 28, 2010. Judge: Dimarzio ICE lawyer: Jessica Kolaski

R-10 Via TV COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico. TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: Present in court. INTERPRETER: Not used OUTCOME: CONTINUED to Nov. 23 for hearing on R’s possibility of subpoenaing the FBI. ISSUES: R is seeking a cancelation of removal. He had been removed from the US. Then, the FBI brought him back to the US as witness in a case. After his testimony was given, the FBI abandoned him. R wants to subpoena the FBI agent who brought him back to the US as a witness to his next hearing. Lawyer said they have contacted the FBI twice and the FBI gives them a number to call for the agent in question. And, always the number dead ends. ICE objected to R getting a subpoena for the FBI agent. Judge said that ICE has until Nov. 9 to get their response back to him.

Comment on the quality of the LEGAL representation and describe any negatives or unusual circumstances about any respondent’s lawyer. R-10’s lawyer and I left court at the same time. So we talked about the case and the FBI’s action of “abandoning” R after he provided the testimony that the FBI wanted. If R had not had a lawyer present, the lawyer said that the court would simply have deported him.

The question of the subpoena of a FBI agent has again lowered my esteem for both the FBI and ICE .

General courtroom conduct: professionalism of judge, attorneys, staff, etc. . Evidently, Dimarzio (from CA) is the judge who has replaced Katsivalis. I saw Giambastiani this morning and I’m not sure which court she will function in. The cases that used to be heard in Court Room one will now be heard in court room two and this evidently will become Dimarzio’s courtroom. Dimarzio is a lot more “straight laced” and is not “laid back.” But, Dimarzio did take his time with R-4 and R-5 when they seemed confused and did not understand what the judge was asking them.

Other happenings of note not covered above or any other comments.

The questions of “Change of address forms” (R-7, R-8, R-9): According to the judge, if there is a change of court date and the R does not showup, the R will be immediately deported. With the slip-shod handling of US mail by the USPS, perhaps USPS has been responsible for deporting many Respondents.

ICE claims it is only deporting “violent” illegal aliens. None of the respondents today have been accused of “violent” crimes. Also, half of the respondents appeared in court which must mean they are on a bond or personal recognizance.

03
Sep
10

Br. Bede’s observations

From: Bede Baldry
Subject: Court Watch

Greetings This was a visit at Court Watch on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 11, 2010
Judge Fujimoto
Government Lawyer: Green

It was a bad dayfor the government lawyer. At one point she said in a strong tone to the lawyer, “Don’t threaten us”. The lawyer was asking for clarification because the government showed her some papers that she didn’t know about.
I met the different lawyers that day and they were happy we were there.
Most cases were Mexican.
Many volunteer departures.
The Judge was trying to be helpful.
The Judge knows me and asks where I have been. We had a nice discussion.
I took someone with me today.

There were about 12 Mexican and then others.

The last case I was there for was a Kenyan man. This is where the government lawyer got excited. The Kenyan’s lawyer was just trying to figure something out as she didn’t have the new information.
I did talk to the lawyer after that. She is willing to help out wherever she can. Wonderful woman.


LIVE, JESUS, IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER!

Bede Baldry, FSC
Cell 773-332-7879
MINISTRY:
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Brother David Darst Center,
2834 S Normal Ave., Chicago, IL 60616, Tele: 312.225.3099

03
Sep
10

Fr. Jim’s 8/10 Observation

Court Watcher: Jim Hoffman OFM Date & Court: Immigration, August 12, 2010

Judge: Giambastiani In court ICE Lawyer: Dan Roth in court

Spanish Interpreter, Herman Rio, in Court. Judge knew that I was in court.

Via TV: Respondents in Tri-County (Ullin, IL), Mc Henry (IL) and Kenosha County(WI) jails.

Via Phone: Tamil Translator

Family Members present & my interaction: 9 for R-11. I had no contact with them.

R-1 Via TV Tri-County COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Guatemala TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: Present in Court. INTERPRETER: Not used. OUTCOME: Continued until Aug. 19 so ICE , Judge and lawyer could get all the documents. ISSUES: R did not have a notice to Appear. It was faxed to him. R, Judge and lawyer did not have all the documentation from ICE. R’s parents and siblings are permanent residents in US. Judge wanted R’s asylum files from Oklahoma and Dallas, TX.

R-2 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used

OUTCOME: Continued so he could get his lawyer. ISSUES: Arrested in Feb. 10, 2010, in WI for eluding an officer. ICE did not have a conviction record on him.

R-3 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Ordered Deported. ISSUES: Was given a $2,000 bond but has no money. Can’t afford voluntary departure. Waived his right to appear his voluntary departure.

R-4 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Continued for time get a lawyer. ISSUES: Did not have a notice to appear. One was faxed to him. Has a $3,000 bond but does not have the money.

R-5 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Since May 2002 TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Ordered Deported ISSUES: Wants deportation. Convicted for “criminal intent with criminal intent of a forged document”. [I’m not sure what this means. Perhaps he had a forged ID or Soc. Sec. Card.] He is married but his wife is not legal. His parents are not legal also. Cannot afford voluntary departure. Waived his right to appeal.

R-6 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Continued so she could get a lawyer ISSUES: Has a lawyer, but the lawyer was not present. Has a conviction record for 15 grams of cocaine.

R-7 Via TV McHenry COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Sri Lanka TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: A Tamil interpreter via phone OUTCOME: Continued so he could get in touch with his lawyer. ISSUES: He is 18 years old. He knows absolutely no English. (Office at McHenry said that when we say something to him, he just smiles.) He said that his father has obtained a lawyer for him, but he never spoken with the lawyer nor does he know his name. Even with the interpreter, the judge had difficult time explaining to him that he should ask for a continuance to have the time to contact the lawyer his father has obtained for him.

R-8 Via TV Kenosha COUNTRY/ORIGIN: ? TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: Present in court INTERPRETER: Used. OUTCOME: Continued to Sept. 23 to vacate the cocaine possession charge.

ISSUES: Charged and conviction of possession of under gram of cocaine.

R-9 Via TV Tri-County COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Iraq TIME IN US: ? TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: Present in court INTERPRETER: not used OUTCOME: Continued for 30 days to give ICE time to appeal his bond the Judge granted. ISSUES: He is an Iraqi who came here to train as airplane pilot. He was terminated when ICE found out he married a US citizen. ICE arrested him as he got into a cab at O’Hare airport. Again this morning ICE did not have his file. Lawyer argued that he was free to leave the US. ICE disagrees. Lawyer requested a bond of $2,500. Judge ordered a bond of $6,000. ICE demanded 30 days to appeal the bond of $6,000. [I hope I understood what was going on here.]

R-10 Via TV Kenosha COUNTRY/ORIGIN: ? TIME IN US: > TIME IN DETENTION: ? LAWYER: Present in court. INTERPRETER: Not used. OUTCOME: Continued for lawyer to get a waiver. ISSUES:

R-11 Via TV Kenosha COUNTRY/ORIGIN: TIME IN US: TIME IN DETENTION: LAWYER: INTERPRETER: OUTCOME: ISSUES:

At this point, a lawyer and 9 visitors came into the court room so there was no room for me. I left. The lawyer sat down at the table before the judge and next to the interpreter.

Comment on the quality of the LEGAL representation and describe any negatives or unusual circumstances about any respondent’s lawyer. Again, the judge took R2, R3, R4, R5 and R6 together and explained to them their rights. It was the first appearance for all. Three wanted a continuance which was granted and two wanted deportation which was granted.

General courtroom conduct: professionalism of judge, attorneys, staff, etc. .

Other happenings of note not covered above or any other comments. The judge and the various jails had a hard time finding R-8. He was finally found at Kenosha. Also the judge had trouble contacting the interpreters by phone. She didn’t have the proper access codes. Then, when she got an operator, She had to spell her name twice before she was given the codes.

Off the record, the Judge commented: “What do I say when someone whom I have just deported says Thank You?”

Submitted by Jim Hoffman OFM

03
Sep
10

Fr. Jim’s Observation

There was no Court on Thursday July 8, 2010

Court Watcher: Jim Hoffman OFM Date & Court: July 15, 2010 Immigration Court,

Judge: In court Jeannie Giambastiani ICE Lawyer: in court Daniel Roth

Spanish Interpreter in Court Jean Little. Judge knew that I was in court. In fact the judge asked me if I want to join them (Clerk, Jean Lttle and Daniel Roth) in a little chit chat before court convened on “hoedowns”. Respondent 6 was present in court in handcuffs accompanied by a police officer. Lawyers for R-6 and R-7 in court.

Via TV: Respondents in Mc Henry and Kenosha County jails.

Via Phone

Family Members present & my interaction: The parents of R- 7. No interaction. When I left at 10:45 AM, there were 4 people waiting, I suspect, for the next court session. I don’t know if these were respondents or family members of respondents.

Again, Judge Giambastiani took the respondents in groups. R-1 to R-5, R-6 alone, R-7 to R-9

R-1 McHenry Co jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Since 1999 when he was 9 years old TIME IN DETENTION: Since Sept. 9, 2009 LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Not needed. OUTCOME: Continued so he could get a 2nd opinion from another lawyer ISSUES: Arrested Sept 9, 2009 for possession of controlled substance. He pled to a lesser charge while his co-defendants went to trial wand went free. He had talked with a lawyer who told him his case was going nowhere. Judge urged him to get a 2nd opinion from another lawyer. He is 20 years old and living with his family. The ICE lawyer did not have his file.

R-2 McHenry Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico. TIME IN US: Unknown. TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Used

OUTCOME: Continued until Aug. 12 to get alawyer ISSUES:

R-3 McHenry Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Unknown TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Used

OUTCOME: Continued to Aug. 12 to get an attorney. ISSUES:

R-4 McHenry Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Barbados TIME IN US: Unknown TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Not used OUTCOME: Continued to August 12 to get a lawyer ISSUES:

R-5 McHenry Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Sept. 26, 2005 TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Used. OUTCOME: Granted a $5,000 bond and new hearing for Aug. 19. ISSUES: He is 25 years old. He is not married and has no children. He has no arrest record. He had a $5000 bond which the government revoked. ICE lawyer had no record of this revocation. Has been living with Religious Brothers and a priest at a church.

R-6 In Court in handcuffs being detained in Kane Co. COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Since 1993. He was 2 years old. TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: Present in court INTERPRETER: Not used. OUTCOME: Judge granted him a $1,000 Bond. ISSUES: ICE lawyer didn’t have his file. Judge didn’t have his notice to appear. Kane Co. had originally granted him a Recognizance bond and then revoked it and detained him.

R-7 Kenosha Co.Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Bulgaria. TIME IN US: 1999 entered as a lawful permanent resident with his family. TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown. LAWYER: Present in court INTERPRETER: Not needed OUTCOME: Continued until Aug. 19 for him to make some application. ISSUES: ICE lawyer moved to withdraw an aggravated felony charge. There was some question about a possession of controlled substance charge.

R-8 Kenosha Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: since 1996. He evidently got stooped at the border six times in 1996 TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: NO INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Ordered deported. He waived his right to appeal the order. ISSUES: He is 35 years old. In a common law marriage with the US citizen and has 2 US citizen daughters, ages 4 and 10. His lawyer told him he has no chance of staying in the US. He has no money for a bond (Judge offered to give him a $7,000 bond) or getting another lawyer. He said he could not raise the $500 for voluntary departure. He says that his family doesn’t want to help him

R-9 Kenosha Co. Jail COUNTRY/ORIGIN: Mexico TIME IN US: Since 2001 TIME IN DETENTION: Unknown LAWYER: None INTERPRETER: Used OUTCOME: Continued to Aug. 19 to get a lawyer ISSUES:

Comment on the quality of the LEGAL representation and describe any negatives or unusual circumstances about any respondent’s lawyer.

General courtroom conduct: professionalism of judge, attorneys, staff, etc. .

The judge allowed R-7’s parents to step into the “inner sanctum” of the court to see and say hello to their son who was on the TV monitor and for him to see and say hello to them.

Judge told R-1 that immigration law is very complicated and she could not act as his lawyer.

For R-6, the Judge said that waiting until August 19 for a bond hearing was unreasonable. So she granted him a $1,000 bond.

Other happenings of note not covered above or any other comments.

The court had trouble locating a Respondent by the name of Garcia. He was not at McHenry. I’m not sure if they found him later. Also, the ICE lawyer was missing some of the Respondents documents. Also the Judge was missing some documents.

22
Nov
09

Mary Healey’s observation

Nov. 16, I returned to courtroom 2 and saw my first woman defendant, a middle aged Mexican who was stopped for driving drunk without a license nor insurance nor legal residency. She was asking for bond. The judge noted that she had been deported from the U.S. in 2003 and returned, had considerable family in Chicago and owned a car. He set bond at $9500 and told her to return Nov. 23 in the afternoon. The guard from McHenry asked the two family members in the courtroom if they wanted to talk with her before she returned to jail and told them in what room they could meet her. I have been impressed each time with the courtesy the judge and the officers in court show to prisoners.

On other visits most of the prisoners were on TV and interpreters in the courtroom. This time the defendants were there and an interpreter on TV. Because the defendants were close to the judge, he and they spoke softly. I couldn’t hear well.

Next two young men came. The older one has been arrested 10 times for some violent offenses and some drug offenses; I couldn’t hear how many convictions. His lawyer on TV asked for a copy of the record which the judge ordered to be faxed to him and told them both to return Nov. 23.

The other, only 18, has been in the U.S. 15 years and still lives with his parents. From age 13 he has continually been in trouble with police, has spent time in the juvenile home, and belongs to a gang. He says that the same policeman arrested him repeatedly while he tried to stay out of trouble. He offered the fact that he has attended school as if that extenuates his burglaries and batteries. No member of his extended family is a permanent resident. He is ineligible for permanent residency because of a cocaine conviction. The judge ordered him deported to Mexico .

Five men who are out on bond were supposed to come next. Two showed up on time, one with a lawyer. Two more came late. The fifth came very late after the proceedings had begun. They all needed the Spanish interpreter. The lawyer apparently had just been hired and spent the time filling out forms; she asked for time to prepare. Three of the other four said they wanted lawyers and were given lists. A fifth said he would defend himself. The judge advised him to think it over. All were told to return Dec. 8.

Mary Healey