BOSTON – Massachusetts Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants and Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey have called upon ICE Boston to stop departing criminal defendants in the middle of their court cases.
As confirmed by Masslive, ICE has deported more than a dozen suspected criminals back to their native homes without informing the courts and the district attorneys on those cases.
The court justices made the request by letter, pointing out that deporting defendants denies them the opportunity to prove their innocence or to be convicted and face justice if found guilty.
By deporting the defendants, victims and their families are also stripped of the ability to seek justice for crimes committed against them.
“Among other things, it prevents victims from having their day in court, denies defendants the opportunity to be exonerated and allows defendants who would otherwise be convicted to escape punishment,” the letter stated.
In the letter, the court justices pointed out several cases of criminal defendants. For example, in one case Jose Ortega, a little league coach, was being prosecuted for child rape charges when he was deported back to the Dominican Republic.
In order to bring Ortega back to the Unites States, “extraordinary resources had to be expended to extradite the defendant back to the United States from the Dominican Republic so that he could face trial," the letter pointed out.
In another case, ICE actually picked up a criminal defendant in a public space inside the courthouse, deporting him back to El Salvador.
Miguel A. Interiano-Vivas was on trial for cocaine trafficking charges. He was detained by ICE on his way to a Jan. 9 hearing, bringing the case to a halt with the court system and the DA unaware of the defendants whereabouts.
In response to the letter, the acting field office director of Boston Enforcement and Removal operations, Marcos D. Charles, stated that ICE does take all factors into consideration before deporting individuals, per CBS Boston.
“ICE does and will continue to consider all factors prior to removing an individual from the United States, including ongoing criminal proceedings.”
The letter from the Massachusetts court justices comes just weeks after a federal judge in Boston scolded a Washington ICE agent for not following protocol, per WBUR.
Michael Bernacke admitted on the stand that he deported three individuals without interviewing them. Bernacke said that he did so unknowingly, unaware of the regulations in place.
He “has violated the law every time he detained somebody … because he didn’t know about the requirement for an interview,” Judge Mark Wolf said. “I just can’t let that go.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Gulbenk