Four Minute Sentencing

Yesterday, while the lawyers and the jury were out having lunch, I conducted a sentencing in an immigration case. I was able to complete sentencing in a new world record time of about four minutes. It was an immigration case. Since the guy had been in custody for several months, everyone knew the sentence would be time served with no supervised release to follow. That’s essentially what the Guidelines called for. Indeed, the government agreed that such a sentence was appropriate. The defendant apologized but noted he had returned to the US to support his three children who were American citizens. He did so working on a garbage truck. Anyway, ICE will now pick him up, and since he waived a deportation hearing, off he will go across the border on a bus. If I were him, I would quickly return to continue to support my kids. I would dive a little deeper into the shadows, but I would return. The present drill seems pretty useless. But what do I know.


On being a stranger in a strange land

Let’s say you came across the Mexican border illegally to find a job.  You have no criminal history.

You landed in the Midwest and found a job in a packing plant.   The work is hellishly hard, but you can send money back to your parents.  Then, you got hurt and lost your job.  So, several friends of yours from down south talk you into shlepping a bit of meth.  About the second or third time you do, you get rolled up by the feds together with a whole bunch of your amigos.

Luckily, you aren’t going to do a lot of time–only five years.  That’s because of your low criminal history score and the fact that the government can’t put a boatload of dope on you.

You have never been in a prison or a jail until the feds arrested you.  You are tired and worn out.  You simply want to go back to Mexico and your parents as quick as you can.  As far as going back to Mexico is concerned, you know you will be deported anyway when you have done your 60 months.  However, five years seems like a long time.

So, you decide to cooperate.  You testify at a trial.  Your sentence gets reduced.  ICE picks you up from the US Marshals and is ready to deport you.

That’s when you learn that your parents have been “visited” in Mexico by friends of your friends.  They tell your parents that they will be waiting for you to return.  You know they aren’t kidding.


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