Skip to comments.Court: Immigration status can have role in sentencing
Posted on 01/29/2005 7:28:13 AM PST by SandRat
Judges are free to impose harsher sentences on criminals who are in this country illegally, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel rejected arguments by the attorney for Andres C. Alire, a 46-year-old Mexican national, that his immigration status is irrelevant to his punishment. Alire was convicted of driving under the influence in Pima County.
Appeals Court Judge Peter Eckerstrom said sentencing judges have wide latitude to consider all sorts of factors.
State Rep. Ben Miranda, D-Phoenix, said he believes the decision is wrong. Miranda, an attorney, said the ruling improperly muddies the line between the jurisdictions of state and federal courts.
He said the only thing the judge should be entitled to do is put a "hold" on Alire, turning him over to immigration authorities at the end of his sentence.
Court records show that Alire was convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated. Under Arizona law, the offense, a Class 4 felony, normally would carry a sentence of 2.5 years in state prison.
But Pima County Superior Court Judge Clark Munger said there were "aggravating circumstances" that merited nearly doubling that, to 4.5 years behind bars. Munger listed Alire's prior felony conviction, his degree of intoxication and the fact that he had fled before the trial.
At sentencing, however, Munger said that "apparently, Mr. Alire feels that what he is here to do is come to the United States illegally, drive drunk and endanger the citizens of this country through his intoxication repeatedly and making his living distributing 50 kilograms or more of marijuana."
There was no explanation in the appellate ruling for the judge's references to marijuana distribution.
Alire appealed his sentence, saying the court had improperly considered his nationality. But Eckerstrom, writing for the Appeals Court, said Munger made reference only to Alire's immigration status.
Eckerstrom said there is no evidence that Munger did consider that in imposing the longer prison term. But he said a trial judge is entitled to weigh as a factor the fact that a defendant is here illegally.
"Entering the United States without valid immigration status is a violation of the laws of this country," Eckerstrom wrote. He said state law allows a sentencing judge to consider "any other factor that the court deems appropriate to the ends of justice."
State lawmaker Miranda said the ruling, in essence, imposes an additional penalty on someone solely because of his entry status. "That is reserved for the federal courts," he said.
He also said that someone who is an illegal entrant actually may have some right to remain, perhaps being eligible for asylum.
"Maybe he or his attorney is not entitled to articulate that in the criminal matter," Miranda said.
The ruling comes only one day after the Arizona House Judiciary Committee voted to let judges deny bail to some people accused of felonies, based solely on their immigration status. That measure now goes to the full House.
Miranda said both Friday's ruling and Thursday's committee action are signs that the nation's immigration laws need to be reformed.
In the appellate ruling, Eckerstrom wrote there is no discrimination in deciding to consider someone's legal right to be in this country.
"There is a critical distinction between immigration status as it relates to nationality and immigration status as it relates to illegal activity," Eckerstrom wrote. "Placed in context, the trial court's remarks here were clearly directed at Alire's disregard for the laws of this country."
Alire's attorney could not be reached for comment late Friday to determine whether an appeal to the Supreme Court will be filed.
Some Judges are starting to get it.
Finally a legal ruling with some common sense.
Finally, some sanity from our courts.
Is this the same Miranda that I think it is?
A breath of fresh air. Come here illegally and commit crimes and we won't rap your knuckles, we'll chop off a few fingers. This is the way it should be and will be an incentive for the criminally minded to stay the f out of America
Indeed. And it looks as if this judge agrees.
Could be, I'm not sure.
This is on top of a report on Wednesday or Thursday that they can deny bail on felonies before trial if it is an illegal charged with it, because the illegal is a flight risk.
This is only in an Arizona jurisdiction. This should apply across the USA. Build tent cities in Michigan for illegal aliens who are up on felony charges. I am fresh out of compassion for foreign bred criminals.
States need to reinstitute work-farms. Put them to work earning their keep, rather than lying around all day long.
Who do you think it is?
Miranda vs Arizona?
In that case. NO!
For interesting reports about this invasion of illegals, go to the Star's Border News.
There seems to be a new euphenism being tried out - two articles referred to an "illegal entrant". Guess they just can't make than quantum jump to "alien".
Note also that the Border Patrol is temporarily grounding their two drones. A revealing comment "In all, the Border Patrol made nearly 500,000 apprehensions in the Tucson Sector last fiscal year. Zortman attributed the low number of apprehensions to the slow season for illegal migration . . .
Then there was the good news that Asa Hutchinson has resigned from Homeland Security because he was twice passed over.
""There is a critical distinction between immigration status as it relates to nationality and immigration status as it relates to illegal activity," Eckerstrom wrote. "Placed in context, the trial court's remarks here were clearly directed at Alire's disregard for the laws of this country."
Isn't that refreshing!!!
Here's some more on Criminal illegals from Dobbs last night:
An estimated 100,000 illegal aliens in this country have been convicted of crimes committed in this country, other than their illegal status, of course, yet most of them remain at large. Special Immigration and Customs Enforcement teams are now trying to hunt down those illegal aliens one by one.
Dan Lothian reports from Brockton, Massachusetts.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the trail of convicted illegal immigrants, federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit, or ICE, are getting ready to move in on a Dominican national in Fall River, Massachusetts. They say he served time for his crime, but is in this country illegally and is avoiding deportation. MONICO: He's been arrested on several charges, including up to assault and battery, domestic violence. He does have a history of violence.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): An hour later, a Cape Verdean man in the U.S. illegally, agents say, is cornered in the City of Brockton as he walks down the sidewalk. His crime?
MONICO: The initial charge was rape of a child and, again, for whatever reason, it was plea bargained down, but it was a conviction.
LOTHIAN: Just two of more than 100 illegal fugitives in this pile the Boston office is hunting. Nationally, it's estimated 80,000 to 100,000 convicted illegal immigrants are out there.
MARTIN: These people have disregarded their orders to leave the country. They've had an opportunity to be heard in court, and the case was decided against them. So we're pursuing those folks that are just not complying with those orders.
That's very good sense. Illegals committing felonies should never get bail. Illegals committing misdemeanor crimes should be sent home as soon as they get out of jail. Drunk driving, shoplifting --- all those lesser crimes should get them sent home --- no questions, no plea for asylum --- if you can't behave yourself you aren't the type that should be given asylum.
Is there any way we can email this judge to say "Thank You"?
Japan could have given Mexico and it's citizens a word of advise... something about a sleeping giant.
Mexico has finally pissed off the goose. It's about to find out about a whole different kind of egg. Hint: It involves a face!
I think your misguided friend, bayoufraud has been nailed to the wall by Pima County Superior Court Judge Clark Munger and the Arizona Court of Appeals.
These legal eagles recognize criminals when they see one!
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