Date: Sunday, January 07 @ 05:02:21 UTCTopic: illegal immigration alien arrests
Suspect in fatality held again. Man was deported before '99 trial in traffic death; Arpaio assails system Michael Kiefer and Michael Clancy The Arizona Republic Jan. 6, 2007 12:00 AM
A man deported seven years ago before he could stand trial on charges stemming from a traffic accident that killed a 16-year-old Glendale girl was arrested this week after failing to show up for a court appearance. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio called it a case of a broken criminal justice system. And a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office pointed out that the same could not happen today under a law that went into effect after the November elections. The new law denies bail to undocumented immigrants who commit serious crimes. Manuel Sanchez, 38, was indicted on manslaughter charges in 1999 but failed to appear in court because he had been turned over to immigration officials after posting a low bond and was deported to Mexico. He was re-arrested in November but put up $27,000 bail and was released. When he failed to appear in court again Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner issued a warrant for his arrest, and he was apprehended later that day.
A new cash bond amount of $50,000 was set, and Sanchez was still in jail Friday. On Oct. 10, 1998, Sanchez, who authorities say was intoxicated, broadsided a car driven by April Jacobson, who had just made an illegal U-turn. Sanchez was indicted on manslaughter charges in February 1999. According to court records, Sanchez posted $3,400 bail and was released to the custody of what was then the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which deported him. "We do everything in our power to detain and deport violent offenders, but the law is complicated," said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for the agency, now Immigration and Customs Enforcement. April's father, Maricopa County sheriff's Sgt. Michael Jacobson, followed the case and learned that by 2001 Sanchez was back in Arizona. Jacobson alerted authorities but they could not arrest Sanchez in time. He was rearrested Nov. 23. Jacobson said he then contacted ICE and learned that Sanchez had received a "green card" and was in the country legally. "I couldn't believe what I was hearing," Jacobson said. "I asked how it was possible that a person could be an illegal alien in 2000, deported to Mexico and then become legal by 2007 even though he is facing a Class 2 felony manslaughter charge." Mack could not immediately verify Sanchez's immigration status but she said that if he is here legally, he cannot be deported unless he is convicted. In reference to the $27,000 bond set when Sanchez was arrested in November, Barnett Lotstein, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said, "His history seemed to say that he would be a flight risk," he said. Lotstein also pointed out that if a similar situation were to occur today, Sanchez would have been held without bail. If he is here legally now, the law does not apply to him. Arpaio was angry that Sanchez had been allowed to elude arrest for so long. "Either Sanchez is incredibly lucky or he has learned to work the system in order to avoid prosecution," he said. "Either way, we have to repair our criminal justice system to prevent this kind of thing from happening again."