Arson Suspect Charged in Murder of Five Was ‘in the United States Illegally’
“Twenty-one-year-old Johnny Josue Sanchez allegedly “started the fire to avenge a beating he took in a dispute over occupying a room” in a building used by homeless people.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sanchez “had [already] been arrested three times” this year. The first arrest was in January on “suspicion of domestic violence.” He was arrested again in May and June on “suspicion of drug possession.” Prior to these, he was “arrested by border patrol agents in 2012 for illegally entering the country at the southeastern California border.”
Sanchez was released following the border arrest because he had no previous charges. He was required to check in with ICE, but he ceased showing up in August 2014. Customs Enforcement spokesperson Virginia Kice explained that ICE did not search for Sanchez because he had no criminal record, and they “focus on individuals who pose a public safety threat.”
“Sanchez now faces murder and attempted murder charges, which could bring the death penalty.”
Five homeless people, “three men and two women,” died in the blaze that was allegedly set by Sanchez.
….More @ Breitbart
Illegal Re-entry Charge dropped against immigrant activist who took refuge in church after illegal Re-entry
– Yahoo News
Aguirre came to the U.S. from El Salvador illegally in the 1990s, and was deported in 2000 after he was caught selling heroin and cocaine in Portland.
“The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped a charge of illegal re-entry against an immigrant activist who took refuge at an Oregon church in 2014 to avoid deportation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Nyhus wrote in a May 27 motion to dismiss the charge against Francisco Aguirre that it was “in the interest of justice.” Nyhus and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland did not return messages seeking further explanation Friday.
Aguirre, the father of two children who are U.S. citizens, still faces possible deportation. He said in a statement he wants immigration authorities to stop targeting his family.
“This initial victory is proof that when we come together, we can win,” Aguirre said. “The only way to ensure justice for migrants is if we come together as a community and defend our basic human rights.”
Aguirre came to the U.S. from El Salvador illegally in the 1990s, and was deported in 2000 after he was caught selling heroin and cocaine in Portland.
He re-entered the country and became an immigrant-rights activist and the coordinator of a nonprofit that runs a day labor center. He came to the attention of immigration authorities in 2014 following an arrest for driving under the influence.
Asked for an update on the status of his case, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lori K. Haley said in an email they weren’t going to speculate on the case’s next steps.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s immigration enforcement focus continues to be on individuals who pose a public safety threat, including those with prior felony drug trafficking convictions,” Haley wrote.
But Olga Tomchin, staff attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said an ICE agent recently served Aguirre with notice that it plans a fast-track deportation process that doesn’t include a hearing before an immigration judge.
Tomchin said the process is generally reserved for people serving a prison sentence, with the idea that they will be returned to their home countries immediately after their release. It’s unusual, she said, for it to be used against someone based off a conviction from 1999.”
….Continue reading @ Yahoo News
– Seems for some illegal aliens, there are no legal consequences for criminal behavior. Are illegal aliens now a protected class under Obama? At the rate they are released after committing crimes it would seem so./CJ
– The local paper in Portland covered the same story but the comments are decidedly against making this guy a hometown hero: Oregon Live
Some Houston illegal immigrants get probation for crimes
– Houston Chronicle
“Bayron Orlando Euceda, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, did not serve a day in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Houston girl.
Instead, a Harris County judge sentenced the 21-year-old to eight years deferred adjudication, a form of probation. A sticky note on his plea agreement reads, “Best interest of victim.”
“That’s incredible,” said Andy Kahan, director of the Houston Mayor’s Crime Victims Office and a former probation officer, after thumbing through Euceda’s court paperwork. ”The best interest of the victim would have been to have that guy locked up.”
A Houston Chronicle investigation found 330 cases involving defendants sentenced to some form of probation in Harris County — despite admitting to the jailer upon their arrest that they were in the country illegally.At least 44 of those cases involved defendants who later had their probation revoked and were sent to prison or who now have outstanding arrest warrants, the investigation found.
Slightly more than half of the 330 cases involved felony charges. In a handful of cases, illegal immigrants under the county’s supervision later were accused of committing serious crimes, including aggravated assault and sexual abuse of a child.
The review was based on arrest, immigration and court records for more than 3,500 inmates who said they were in the country illegally when they were booked into jail over a span of eight months, starting in June 2007, the earliest immigration documents available.
The Chronicle’s investigation found:
- A shortage of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to screening inmates at the county’s jails, which has allowed illegal immigrants eligible for deportation to end up on probation. ICE agents filed paperwork to detain only one in four inmates who admitted they were undocumented during the Chronicle’s review period.
- The Harris County District Attorney’s Office lacks an official policy on offering probation to illegal immigrants.
- Prosecutors and pretrial service officers frequently lack access to accurate information about defendants’ immigration status when preparing reports for judges. As a result, some judges say they often know little about the immigration status of defendants before sentencing.
- Once illegal immigrants are sentenced to probation, there is no streamlined process to cull them from supervision rolls. Harris County probation officers try to help ICE agents whenever possiblebut lack the means and manpower to verify probationers’ immigration status, said Ray Garcia, deputy director of operations for Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
- Robert Rutt , special agent in charge of the ICE criminal investigation office in Houston, said ICE officials “triage and tend to go after the worst of the worst” of immigrants who are sentenced to probation and released from jail but who are eligible for deportation. ICE has improved screening in Harris County’s jails in recent months and has stepped up efforts to catch immigrants who have not complied with an order from an immigration judge to leave the country.
For example, in the 2008 fiscal year, Houston’s fugitive teams made 1,587 arrests, up 28 percent from 2007, ICE officials said. Nationally, ICE fugitive teams made nearly 34,000 arrests — more than double the number two years ago.
Case draws criticism
The practice of sentencing illegal immigrants to probation attracted sharp criticism after an illegal immigrant from Mexico killed Houston police officer Rodney Johnson .
Juan Quintero, who is serving a life sentence for the murder, had several DWI convictions and was sentenced to deferred adjudication for indecency with a 12-year-old girl in 1999. Quintero was deported but returned to Houston illegally and shot Johnson on Sept. 21, 2006.
Johnson’s widow, Houston police Sgt. Joslyn Johnson, said she hopes for a policy change that would stop illegal immigrants from ending up on probation, saying prison time would be more of a deterrent to coming back to the U.S. illegally.
“They broke the law when they came into the country illegally, and if they’ve committed another crime on top of that, I think they should be automatically deported,” she said. “They should not be allowed to stay in the country on probation.”
Some lie about status
Euceda’s case highlights the system’s shortcomings in not identifying illegal immigrants early on.
Euceda told jailers when he was arrested on the sexual assault charge in July 2007 that he was in the country illegally. He filled out court paperwork saying he was from Honduras. There is no record of ICE agents filing paperwork to detain him.
In November 2007, state District Judge Jim Wallace signed off on a plea agreement that granted Euceda deferred adjudication, a form of probation that allows defendants to avoid a formal conviction if they successfully complete the terms of their supervision. The prosecutor on the case, Connie Spence, declined comment through a district attorney’s spokesman.
Wallace said he did not remember the case but likely did not know Euceda was undocumented.
“My policy is not to give deferred (adjudication) or straight probation to anyone who is here illegally because I’m of the opinion that there is that much more of a reason for that person to flee the jurisdiction,” he said.
Wallace said he generally asks a defendant’s attorney whether the client is undocumented before signing off on a plea, but he said that is probably not a very reliable measure.
Some defendants lie about their immigration status and are sentenced to probation, “and then next thing we know, they’re gone,” Wallace said.
He added: “Effectively, they’ve committed whatever offense they’ve committed for free. … It’s irritated me for years.”
Euceda was released from Harris County Jail after signing the plea agreement on Nov. 30, 2007, and was picked up by immigration agents five days later. He was formally deported to Honduras in April.
On Aug. 9, U.S. Border Patrol agents caught Euceda trying to sneak back into the U.S. through West Texas, court records say. He was charged with illegal re-entry after deportation. His case is pending.
While some judges said they were simply unaware of a defendant’s immigration status, others said the status should not matter.
George Godwin, a Harris County district judge, sentenced 19-year-old Hugo Sanchez to eight years’ deferred adjudication in February for having sex with an 11-year-old girl. Immigration officials filed paperwork to detain Sanchez within two days of his arrest in September 2007.
Godwin could not comment specifically on the Sanchez case, but he said he generally tries to keep immigration issues separate from the criminal cases.
“We don’t do immigration work here,” he said. “That’s one reason why it gets sticky and it gets complicated. You just sort of have to divorce yourself here from the immigration problems.”
Kelli Johnson, the prosecutor in the Sanchez case, declined comment through the District Attorney’s Office spokesman. Sanchez’s attorney did not return phone calls.
Asked whether probation or deferred adjudication is an appropriate punishment for someone facing deportation, Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said, “I don’t know how to answer that question.
“We would, as prosecutors, want to see that justice is done,” she said. “If we knew the defendant was going to be immediately deported, in most cases we would not offer a probation they could not complete. If that happens, obviously, we would not feel justice is being done because they’re not being punished, aside from possibly deportation.”
Patrick McCann, a Houston defense attorney, said defendants should be eligible for probation regardless of their immigration status.
“Judges cannot as a matter of due process and equal protection say you’re not eligible because you don’t have documentation,” McCann said. “First off, it’s not a state judge’s call, ever. It’s not their business. It’s not their jurisdiction.”
Again and again
Israel Lopez , an illegal immigrant from Mexico, finished a seven-year Texas prison sentence in July 2006 for aggravated sexual assault of a child and was turned over to ICE agents, prison records say. ICE officials confirm he was deported in August 2006.
Less than a year later, in June 2007, Lopez was arrested again on suspicion of assaulting a Harris County sheriff’s deputy and told jailers he was in the country illegally, records say. Lopez was sentenced to eight months in jail. There is no record of ICE filing paperwork to detain him then.
In February, Lopez was arrested again, charged with assaulting his wife. He was sentenced to probation by a visiting Harris County Criminal Court-at-law judge. A motion was filed to revoke his probation after the Chronicle asked the sitting judge, James Anderson, about Lopez’s sentence. Lopez is now a fugitive, according to court records.
Breaking their word
Other illegal immigrants have slipped through the system by not divulging their legal status.
In 2001, a federal immigration judge told Teodorico Cespedes, a native of Costa Rica, to leave the U.S. but allowed him to opt for “voluntary departure,” meaning Cespedes agreed to leave on his own terms, rather than be formally deported. There is no evidence that Cespedes ever returned to his home country.
In January 2007, Cespedes was arrested and charged with assault in Houston. He never told jailers or court officials that he was in the U.S. illegally, records say. A judge sentenced him to one year of community supervision, and he was released from jail after immigration officials didn’t file paperwork to detain him.
Ten months later, Cespedes was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, accused of raping and sodomizing a 4-year-old girl. He is being held without bail, pending his January trial date.
Harris County Criminal Court-at-law Judge Reagan Helm, who sentenced Cespedes on the original assault charge and opposes putting illegal immigrants on probation, said he was not aware of Cespedes’ immigration status.”
…Continue reading @ Houston Chronicle
VICTIMS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
In honor of the thousands of American citizens killed each year by Illegal Aliens.
Deaths that could have been prevented if Congress and the President would have secured our border and enforced existing U.S. immigration laws.
Grant Ronnebeck, 21
Allegedly murdered by
Apolinar Altamirano, 29
Apolinar Altamirano, 29, an unauthorized Mexican illegal alien DREAMer, has been arrested for the January 22, 2015 first-degree murder of Phoenix Quick Trip store clerk Grant Ronnebeck, 21.
Altamirano is accused of shooting Ronnebeck and stealing two packs of cigarettes after the 21-year-old clerk demanded payment before giving Altamirano any cigarettes.
The murder was recorded on the store’s security camera and police captured Altamirano after a high speed chase in Phoenix.
Altamirano had previous run-ins with local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to facilitation to commit burglary and got probation but was placed in deportation proceedings.
Before the murder of Ronnebeck, Altamirano was released on a $10,000 bond in 2013 from ICE custody despite the defendant’s own claims of ties to the Mexican Mafia. After his release, but before Ronnebeck’s murder, Altamirano also allegedly threatened to kill two people, resulting in harassment injunctions against Altamirano.
Altamirano reportedly entered the U.S. illegally at the age of 14 and prior to his arrest, worked illegally as a landscaper.
OJJPAC note: Another senseless murder of a young US citizen, who was also a son, brother, nephew and friend to many. Grant’s life was viciously taken while earning an honest day’s pay…” allegedly” by an illegal alien from Mexico who obviously has contempt for our laws and the rights of our citizens. This young man’s blood is on the hands of the Obama administration and those who support Obama’s non-enforcement immigration directives. The Obama administration’s conduct defies common sense. The harm it has caused has been of such an egregious nature, all its policy architects deserve the title of saboteur if not traitor, and all should be prosecuted for their acts of public malfeasance.
Source: Suspect in Mesa QT killing faced deportation proceedings, By Arizona Central, 1-27-15
Jesse Benavides, 33
Son, Father, Fiancée, Brother, & Friend
Santana Gaona, 34
Santana Gaona, a 33-year-old illegal alien had been arrested and put on tril for the 2011 murder of Jesse Benavides, 33, of Dallas, Texas. On April 16, 2015, a jury found Gaona guilty of murder and the trial judge sentenced Gaona to 50 years in prison.
Jesse Benavides was shot and killed while attending a children’s birthday party at a home in west Oak Cliff. Gaona shot Benavides 7 times in the back after an argument at the party.
After the murder, the Benavides family found out that Gaona had been in the U.S. illegally and and been arrested for rape and was flagged for transfer to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation proceedings after release from jail. However, the FBI intervened and had the immigration hold removed because Gaona had been an FBI informant. So Gaona was eventually released from jail and remained in Dallas.
The Benavides family is still attempting to get answers to their questions regarding how Gaona was allowed to remain in the U.S. after being identified as a criminal illegal alien.
Jesse Benavides senseless murder has traumatized his family. He is survived by a 10-year-old son (who witnessed his father murder), his former fiancée, a brother, Juan Benavides, and other family and friends. Benavides was a loving father who enjoyed watching the Dallas Mavericks and playing practical jokes on family and friends.
Source: Justice Not Served: Family of Victim Slain by Illegal Immigrant Blasts U.S. ‘Negligence’ for Not Enforcing Own Laws, By Sara Carter, The Blaze.com, 12-3-13; Dallas man gets 50 years in prison for fatal shooting at children’s party, By Tasha Tsiaperas, The Dallas Morning News, 4-16-15″
….Continue reading @ www.ojjpac.org/memorial.asp