And Justice For Some

Prison Fence

Let’s look at one case that I know of: The subject is a bright young man from the Midwest, who also has a propensity for doing stupid silly things. He got involved in a check-cashing scam and did some time as a guest of the state. Later, now working at a decent job, he was at a party where marijuana was used. Unfortunately they were making too much noise, the police were called and pot was found. Hit number two. After this, about 6 months later, he was caught at another party, too much noise, pot was in use, and this made hit number 3. In that state, this was the third strike and you get 25 years. In this case, after over a year of appeals, the sentence was reduced to 7 years, he took a plea and will be out in time to enter middle age.

I am not an advocate of the 1960s free drug society, but I wonder how well justice has been served in thousands of cases like this. Didn’t we learn anything from the Great Prohibition Experiment? All we ended up doing in that case was to create the business to form a strong Mafia.

And as long as we are talking about making more criminals, here is another case worth mentioning. In this case, we have a young man, making a good honest living and supporting a wife and child. But he has a problem. While a baby in arms, he was carried by his parents from México into the US. As time passed, his parents, originally “illegals”, managed to not only become legal, but US citizens under the laws at that time. However, everybody forgot about the baby in arms, and he never went through the legalization process. I should also point out that this man can barely speak Spanish, cannot read Spanish, and is as “American” as any born-in-the-US American is. And he was also raised to have respect for the law.

Later, now married, he tried to straighten up his status and initiated the legalization process. And that is where his problem started. They discovered that as a teenager, he was riding in a car where there was some open alcohol and when the car was pulled over for a traffic offense, it was found. The other teens, including the driver, had their parents hire legal help and were able to get them off on reduced minor charges. But the subject man here was not raised that way. His position was that he had done something wrong and wanted to take his punishment. He simply plead guilty and served 4 months as a guest of the state.

And when the immigration people checked his records, they found this “conviction” and declared him to be an “undesirable”.
He went through years of appeals, but to no avail. Finally, he was given notice of deportation and a date about one week away. ICE came three days later to his home, and while he was still trying to pack, put him on a one way plane trip to central México.

In Mexico, he simply turned around and went back to the border by bus. He then walked across the bridge, was waved right through and rejoined his family. I don’t know where he is now, but he is with his family, probably living under a different name, and still supporting them.

First of all, so much for “border security”. And what good end did this travesty accomplish? This was what the “DREAM” act was supposed to address, shot down by right wing “law and order” zealots.

Why not try and keep the real criminals in jail for a change? You might end up with more room in the prisons.

By the way, México has a prison-overcrowding problem too. Now that the “guilty until proven innocent” law is being changed, one southern state is reviewing cases of inmates. Out of 300 cases reviewed, over 100 were found to have no merit. And they were released.

By Richard N. Baldwin T. /

Richard N. Baldwin T., a ( contributing columnist, lives in Tlalnepantla, Edo de México. E-mail at: [email protected]