Patterico's Pontifications


Federal Judge Questions Immigration Prosecutions

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 6:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has entered an order questioning why federal prosecutors in Austin, Texas, are prosecuting immigration offenders:

“On Friday, [Judge Sam] Sparks wrote in the order that “like many of the defendants prosecuted under the (federal illegal re-entry law) in the last six months” the men “have no significant criminal history.”

Sparks wrote that it has cost more than $13,350 to jail the three men and noted that charging them criminally means additional costs and work for prosecutors, defense lawyers, court personnel and others.

“The expenses of prosecuting illegal entry and re-entry cases (rather than deportation) on aliens without any significant criminal history is simply mind-boggling,” Sparks wrote.

He said the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case could not state “a reason that these three defendants were prosecuted rather than simply removing them from the United States.”

Sparks sentenced the defendants to time served and ordered them deported. The reporter was unable to determine the criminal history of two of the defendants, but a lawyer for the third maintained his client “is not a criminal:”

“A lawyer for the third, Victor Arana, said his client, Angel Hernandez-Garcia, was arrested on Halloween on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Arana said his client, who has since pleaded guilty to the DWI charge, had been living in Austin with his wife and two children and working in construction.

His client, he said, is not a criminal.

“These are tough cases because there are families involved,” Arana said.

“The only difference is he was born on one side and we were born on the other side,” he said.”

Immigration lawyer Daniel Kowalski noted the Bush Administration had implemented Operation Streamline designed to increase prosecutions in order to deter illegal immigration. Since then, “there has been a steady flow of cases in Austin charging some immigrants who have minor or no criminal histories with illegal re-entry.”

It sounds like Judge Sparks is unhappy with spending this money … and also with his docket.


19 Responses to “Federal Judge Questions Immigration Prosecutions”

  1. “The expenses of prosecuting illegal entry and re-entry cases (rather than deportation) on aliens without any significant criminal history is simply mind-boggling,” Sparks wrote.

    Perhaps it is. I don’t see how that is anything for the judicial branch to concern itself about though. Could they at least pretend to have heard of this “separation of powers” stuff?

    Can I expect to hear a judge saying “The amount of money wasted on Headstart to zero effect is simply mind-boggling and I’m putting a stop to it”?

    No, because in the first instance he’s reflecting the views of his class and in the second he would not be. Law ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.

    Subotai (b855cf)

  2. Soiunds like hizzonon thinks we don’t have enough drunk drivers this side of the border.

    Harry Bergeron (9da2a8)

  3. It is called enforcing the &%^%^&ing law Asshat Judge with his head up his ass. Gee, prosecuting murderers is kinda expensive, you know with the million dollar trials and all and all the experts and lawyers and court personnel, why do we prosecute them anyway? Why don’t we just let them all go??? This judge is a dolt and should be impeached and disbarred!

    J. Raymond Wright (e8d0ca)

  4. Somebody, anybody, please explain to me how a man convicted of DWI is not a criminal? Is it not a felony offense?

    I am serious. I understand the connotation that the term “criminal” is typically that of a congenital or long-term recidivist. But, the point of these laws against deporting aliens is that it can’t be done unless there is an underlying felony. Since when is a DWI not felonious? If I am wrong, by all means correct me.

    Ed from SFV (f6a87d)

  5. If the judge does not like doing his job, I recommend a resignation.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. The first time: Deportation.
    Subsequent offenses (scoflaw): Jail & Deportation.

    AD - RtR/OS! (a61dac)

  7. Sounds like the judge wants to be a defense attorney. Or a legislator or governor or mayor. I’m sure he could win an election for mayor running on that platform. In Juarez.

    Did his law school forget to teach him what a judge’s job is?

    MU789 (514c52)

  8. This judge should run for legislature and get off the bench.

    Of course, no one will vote for him.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  9. It sounds like Judge Sparks is unhappy with spending this money … and also with his docket.

    It sounds to me like Judge Sparks is making a nice little side income from the Mexican Mafia.

    j curtis (5126e4)

  10. sounds like to me that the federal judiciary is not going to be the abritrators of the far rights obsession with illegal immigration that has been in place since 1918

    EricPWJohnson (c37802)

  11. The first time: Deportation.

    I suggest caning, then deportation.

    Wanna bet that if this were the case, potential illegals would think twice about trying again?

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (efef8c)

  12. if you are here illegally, you are a criminal.

    i can’t see how anyone is going to make a valuable citizen of this country when your first act on our land was to break one of our laws.

    we should grant Mexico reciprocity on immigration, and treat all of their citizens here as they do immigrants there. that would put the skids on this bullshit post haste.

    oh yeah: Judge Sparks has evidently grounded and, having achieved that state intellectually, should be discharged from the bench and the bar as well.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  13. Far right? Does this populist Johnson want to put that to the test with a vote as to who wants illegals deported? My guess: 80-20 on the pro-deport line.

    ed (4fc6d6)

  14. Perhaps they should make misdemeanor illegal entry an ‘infraction’ like minor traffic laws. That way we can have an assembly-line traffic court kind of situation to handle them all. No valid driver’s license? Illegal entry, $250 fine. Your papers, citizen?

    Then, once the police know where some illegal aliens live, they can come around and fine them $250 a day as a revenue enhancement until they leave of their own accord.

    luagha (4f3c4f)

  15. It sounds like Judge Sparks is unhappy that he is unable to dictate policy.

    Ken Hahn (32a59b)

  16. I just remembered that in the Rodney King case the federal court dismissed the convictions of the police officers because it disagreed with the US Attorney’s decision to prosecute them after they had been acquitted in state court. I wonder if this judicial intereference with prosecutorial discretion is widespread in the federal system or just a California thing.

    nk (db4a41)

  17. Well, as a Federal Judge, he is smarter than your average …. (fill in blank to your heart’s most devious desire).

    Just another lifetime appointment who needs to be reminded who is paying his salary; and, if he doesn’t like it, that there are plenty of Big-Law firms out there who like having an ex-Fed Judge on the mast-head – but then, he’d have to actually do something instead of just being pompous and self-important.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f9cda3)

  18. EricPWJohnson writes: “…far rights obsession with illegal immigration that has been in place since 1918 …

    Just how many misrepresentations, falsehoods and made-up crap can you stuff in one fragment of a sentence? Ask Eric, he seems to be becoming the expert.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. nk…I think you misremember the outcome of the Rodney King case. Here is perhaps a reminder (fm Wiki):

    “…The initial sentencing of officers Powell and Koon was appealed to the United States Supreme Court on the issue of whether the Federal District Court properly applied departures from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines when it granted two downward departures to 30 months from section 242 of the sentencing guidelines, in Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81 (1996). Ultimately, the Court affirmed the lower court and allowed the officers’ sentences to be significantly reduced to 30 months due to four factors: King’s own provocation, the officers’ susceptibility to abuse in prison, their successive prosecutions in state and federal courts, and the unlikelihood of them repeating the same crime, as any felony conviction rendered both of them ineligible for future law enforcement employment.

    Koon served his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, and the Federal Work Camp in Sheridan, Oregon. He was released on 15 October 1995…”

    AD - RtR/OS! (f9cda3)

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