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Judicial Watch • Criminal Illegal Immigrants Deported To Escape Justice

Criminal Illegal Immigrants Deported To Escape Justice

Criminal Illegal Immigrants Deported To Escape Justice

APRIL 29, 2009

New Jersey’s Supreme Court may soon decide whether or not to eliminate a loophole that allows illegal immigrants to avoid facing criminal charges in local courts by choosing deportation.

The key issue is: Should county prosecutors be allowed to increase the bail of an illegal immigrant charged with a heinous crime to prevent fleeing before facing justice? The state’s High Court is pondering the answer after hearing arguments this week involving a Honduran man charged with molesting a 9-year-old girl. 

The illegal immigrant, Manuel Fajardo-Santos, was indicted by a grand jury in December for sexually molesting a Wharton girl. Prosecutors in Morris County, located about 25 miles west of New York City, originally set bail at $75,000. When the illegal alien eventually posted bail in January prosecutors learned that federal immigration officials had placed a detainer and his deportation was imminent. 

Prosecutors convinced a Superior Court judge in Morristown to reset bail at $300,000 so that the accused child molester could be returned to the county jail to face trial. His public defender appealed and, in late January, a state appellate court reversed the higher bail and reinstated the original amount of $75,000. Prosecutors appealed to the state’s Supreme Court and this week justices heard the case but didn’t issue a ruling.

Local authorities took action because, in a similar case last year, an illegal alien also charged with sexually assaulting a child agreed to be deported to escape prosecution. In that case a different Honduran man was deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after posting bail in the county and prosecutors were determined not to let that situation repeat itself. 

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