Skip to comments.Scott Gardner didn't have to die
Posted on 07/21/2005 3:54:20 PM PDT by 4.1O dana super trac pak
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials blame an understaffed, underfunded immigration system for failing to deport an illegal immigrant charged three times with driving while impaired -- before being charged again Saturday in the death of a Gaston County teacher.
Ramiro Gallegos, an illegal Mexican immigrant, remained in the Brunswick County jail Tuesday on charges that include second-degree murder and DWI following the crash in coastal Brunswick County.
Gallegos' truck slammed into a Subaru station wagon driven by Scott Gardner of Mount Holly. Gardner died. His wife, Tina, remains in critical condition. Their two children suffered minor injuries.
The case raises questions: why Gallegos was never deported, and why the stiffest sentence he got for DWI was 30 days in jail, after his third charge.
Lee Bollinger, an assistant district attorney in Brunswick County, said law enforcement officials rarely notify immigration officials when undocumented residents are charged.
"Law enforcement officers ... will tell you it does no good to report cases to (immigration officials) because they have so few agents that nobody shows up," he said. "Common sense tells you when you look at the number of illegal immigrants here in North Carolina, it's pretty clear that we don't have the resources to keep these people out."
North Carolina has about 300,000 illegal immigrants, one of the highest populations in the country, according to one recent study.
North Carolina has a single deportation officer. He's among fewer than 10 people in North Carolina who work for the Department of Homeland Security's Detention and Removal Operations.
Sue Brown, a spokeswoman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, said immigration authorities arrested Gallegos in 1998. But neither the reason nor the result of the arrest were available.
"We have finite resources like everybody else," Brown said. "And with 100 counties in North Carolina and the DWI cases that come every week, it's kind of staggering. So we're constantly reassessing where to put our resources."
According to records, Gallegos was first charged in early 2002. But prosecutors dismissed the case when he failed to appear in court. His first DWI conviction came in 2002 in Duplin County. His sentence: probation.
In April 2004, Gallegos faced a third DWI charge, in Brunswick County, when he registered a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit. The Supply resident was found guilty of DWI Level 1, the most serious level.
Records show that Judge Tom Aldridge ordered a two-year prison sentence, the maximum. But he suspended that sentence and allowed Gallegos to spend 30 days in jail, serving those days over a period of 15 weekends. He also ordered 30 months probation, $600 in fines and $740 in restitution.
On Tuesday, Aldridge refused to accept blame for the lighter sentence or for not addressing the suspect's immigration status. In fact, he said he can't recall the suspect's name and doesn't like to discuss his judgments.
He said in 10 years on the bench, no officer or prosecutor has ever mentioned a drunken driver's immigration status.
"Nobody has ever told me that any of the Hispanic people that are through here are legal or illegal," he said. "It just has never been an issue that has been raised or addressed." -- STAFF WRITER MELISSA MANWARE CONTRIBUTED.
© 2005 Charlotte Observer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.charlotte.com
Just killin' the americans ordinary americans refuse to kill!
Yeah, that's about right. $740 for killing the father and severely injuring the mother of some kids.
North Carolina has a single deportation officer.
How many agents are in NC looking to bust pot smokers?
...an illegal Mexican immigrant, remained in the Brunswick County jail Tuesday on charges that include second-degree murder and DWI following the crash in coastal Brunswick County...
Just another illegal doing a job American's don't want to do...
Seems to me North Carolina officials would have been justified in just rowing this guy out to the state line on the East Coast and dropping him off to make his way back home.
One judge lets off a convicted sex offender to commit again, another lets off a drunk-driving illegal alien to commit again...
Scott Gardner's blood is on the hands of our politicians who refuse to enforce the immigration laws of America, and that includes GWBush, who has had over four years to address this invasion of criminals and hasn't.
Oh, we have the resources. We're dropping a billion per day in Iraq. We have the resources, we simply lack the will. One party is too busy courting the votes of illegal immigrants, and the other party is too busy courting the contributions of the corporations that employ them. In the middle are people like Scott Gardner and his family, totally screwed by a system that could care less.
Send a link to this article to all our leaders who refuse to address this problem. Ask them to justify this man's death.
Quite honestly, this article says as much about our pathetic response to repeat DWI offenders as it does about our pathetic response to illegal immigration.
The case raises questions: why Gallegos was never deported
For me, it raises a much different question: Why have we allowed 20,000,000 or so just like him to come here illegally?
This stuff happens every day...
Go back and read the first sentence of this article again. This was his 4th offense.
Illegal aliens and their fans and enablers are a danger to this country.
Exactly, and every time it happens we I'll send the article to Frist, DeLay, and anybody else in a position of power who allows this to happen. I hope everybody else will do the same.
If the authorities cannot or will not remove the illegals, then the citizenry must intervene.
Scott Gardner's blood is on the hands of our politicians who refuse to enforce the immigration laws of America, and that includes GWBush, who has had over four years to address this invasion of criminals and hasn't."
I doubt if Bush or any other politician will lose any sleep over Scott.
Now, if Jenna was killed by a DUI illegal........
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