FEBRUARY 25, 2010
A federal judge in Texas who once issued an order in the form of a poem has accused prosecutors of wasting taxpayer money to criminally prosecute delinquent illegal immigrants with criminal records and previous deportation orders.
The case involves three Mexican nationals arrested last fall in Travis County for driving drunk. Each one had been deported multiple times and all have previously engaged in serious criminal conduct, including burglary and driving under the influence of alcohol.
When federal prosecutors in the western district of Texas filed criminal charges against the illegal aliens, Austin Judge Sam Sparks blasted the Justice Department and accused it of wasting taxpayer dollars. The notoriously animated jurist wrote in his order that seeking criminal convictions against illegal immigrants “presents a cost to the American taxpayer….that is neither meritorious nor reasonable.”
He noted that jailing the three illegal immigrants since their drunk-driving arrests had cost more than $13,350 and charging them would present additional expenses and work for prosecutors, defense lawyers, court personnel and others. So the judge ordered them deported before completing their prison sentences for illegal re-entry by a deported alien, a federal felony they each pleaded guilty to.
This week the top federal prosecutor in western Texas, John Murphy, fired back with a court filing that reminds the judge about the illegal immigrants’ flagrant disregard for the law. Officials “have chosen less costly means of dealing with each of these defendants on prior occasions and in response the defendants have returned unlawfully and engaged in serious criminal conduct,” Murphy wrote in the advisory to the court.
The three Mexican men had been apprehended a total of 16 times, the court document points out, and one had been convicted of burglary. Another had an alcohol level at least twice the legal limit when he was last arrested in Austin. None of these defendants merits leniency, Murphy’s order says, and costs should not measure prosecutions or dictate their outcomes.
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