Saturday, December 22, 2007

And the Judges always think we're nuts

An officer in a neighboring jursdiction started a blog and it apparently lies now in neglect, as it seems most blogs do.

What's interesting about this blog is that it is written from the perspective of the cop out on the street. It traces his journey through the academy and his application for a job through his first three months on the street. Along the way, he drops little nuggets like this:

We do a lot of mexican raids. You know the spots where all the illegals hang out in the morning looking for day labor. Well we have a lot of fun harrassing them. The other day we played the cops theme song "Bad Boys" across the PA system as we rolled up in there. It was hilarious.
Just as I always suspected. The emphasis is mine.

On Friday, I represented a man from Mexico, who happened to have a social security card and a permanent resident I.D. in a false name. This fellow is an itinerant agricultural worker. He has come to the U.S. to work the fields and send money back home to his three kids. He is a religious man and was extremely polite. He is not: (1) a terrorist; (2) a gang member; or, (3) a drug addict. He's just a hard-working guy.

I am sure that the stop was exactly as Officer Beck describes in his blog -- my report said that the arresting officer saw some men drinking along a woodline and arrested my guy for public intox (although there was no indication that he was disorderly), criminal trespass, and a county ordinance violation of having an open container. Now that's reaching deep. Upon searching my guy, he found the fake ID cards. My guy entered pleas to two counts of Forgery and is now awaiting deportation. I begged the ADA to come down to misdemeanors, but he would not budge. There was some poetic justice, however: after the plea, the Judge asked why the illegal immigrants were being arrested solely for false identification, when there were no other charges. The ADA got to squirm a little, which was nice.

My guy is still in jail.


OpenID cori1047 said...

Minds me of a case I have up on appeal right now. It's a case of first impression in our jurisdiction, so maybe I get to make some law.

My client, a Mexican national, purchased a set of ID's on the street, and used them to get a job. Not for credit cards or any such. She worked hard and paid all her own bills with cash. She was with the same company for 2 years and her boss even considered her a "model employee". The issue came up only when the real person whose name and SS# she was working under (herself a welfare mother and a drag on society)moved and put in a change of address with the USPS - thereby getting some of my clients bills forwarded to her.

My client never intended this woman to get stuck with her bills. She didn't even know she existed. She worked hard for the wages and benefits she got, lived quietly, paid her bills, and was a responsible human being - other than being an illegal immigrant. Does the State just call INS and have her deported? No. They charged her with Financial Identity Theft. A Class 1 Felony, probationable for a first timer like my client, but possibly carrying 4 to 15 as a penalty.

Theft of what? The parasitical named soul was deprived of nothing. Neither was the employer. But even though I filed a motion to dismiss, and then argued at bench trial that this was no more than a misdemeanor Possession and Use of a false ID, she was convicted as charged.

I think the prosecutor and judge were blinded by the fact that she was an illegal, to the extent that they forgot that the essence of the charged offense is the use of the personal information of another to fraudulently obtain something that you are not entitled to, or to deprive another of something that they and not you should have gotten.

We'll see what the Appellate Court thinks.

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