Machado: ICE to Local DA, Bite Me

Alcedis Ortiz had been accused of sexually assaulting* a 12-year-old girl, and he was scheduled to stand trial in Miami.  Ortiz is a Colombian national without legal permanent residence in the U.S., and without any other authorization to remain in the country, he was fair game for ICE.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office was in charge of his prosecution, and if a one-word verdict came back, it was also tasked with convincing a Judge to send Ortiz to a Florida prison for a very long time.  For ICE, Ortiz was a man with no legal status who was charged with a serious crime, and whose asylum application had been denied by an Immigration Judge at the Krome Processing Center (a.k.a. Miami’s Immigration jail/court, a one-stop shop).  He was facing criminal charges in Miami’s state court while simultaneously seeking asylum in an Immigration Court.

But Ortiz was not awaiting trial in Miami’s county jail, but rather in ICE custody at Krome, and ICE’s main goal is to get him the hell out of here, not to bring him before a criminal jury so he can have a trial. And that’s exactly what they did. Before his trial in Miami’s Circuit Court, to some people’s surprise and outrage:

Immigration agents have deported another man accused of rape before he could stand trial in Miami state court.

The Miami Herald has confirmed that a man named Alcedis Ortiz, 42, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, was deported to Colombia, even though he was still awaiting trial on two felony charges, one punishable by life in prison.

He spent nearly five months in immigration custody before he was deported on Sept. 28, an ICE spokesman confirmed Friday.

Law enforcement agencies can be acutely myopic when carrying out their directives, sometimes to the detriment of the other badges.  Sometimes they even duke it out over the same collar.  Whatever their mission statement – do “justice;” deport illegals; put away narcotics businessmen; protect the homeland – that’s exactly what it is: their mission.  That’s what comes first, and their bosses will give them the blueprints on how they think it’s best to get there.

Back in January of 2017, ICE got its stone-cold directive from D.C.: every non-citizen is an enforcement priority, including those who “have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved.” Ortiz fit the bill, and he was sent back to Colombia.  Since 2017, ICE has smelled new blood, and it has not let these new tools go to waste:

The continuing cases underscore how the federal government’s aggressive detention and deportation policies under President Donald Trump have disrupted Miami-Dade’s criminal-justice system, and those in other states across the country.

I’m sure there are plenty who gleefully cheered on that 2017 Executive Order as part of a new age of law and order.  Illegals, and especially the criminal ones, were finally going to be brought to justice and banned from here.  But now the irony is that it’s because of that idiotic unrealistic stance on people with pending charges, including those with serious ones like Ortiz, those people will never be punished.  It’s as if 3 years ago, ICE asked rhetorically “You want blood? You got it.”

Before 2017, ICE would usually wait for the person to serve his sentence, take him into custody, and then send him home a few months later. That was very easy to do, since whenever someone without papers comes into non-ICE custody, ICE simply puts a detainer on his jail card, and they won’t remove the detainer unless and until the case was resolved (e.g., an acquittal or the prison sentence was served).

Now that ICE is jumping the gun, because it can, many are up in arms: state attorneys, victims, and anyone who feels like they didn’t get their pound of flesh. It looks like you can’t root for ICE to go scorched earth while at the same time wanting the local prosecutor to put those illegals in cages first. It looks like you’re gonna have to throw some nuance in there, somewhere.

When that order came down in 2017, a few of us warned – while having to Gertrude by saying “yes, we do appreciate law and order, but…” – that Trump was going to throw a monkey wrench into that finely-tuned deportation machine that the Cool Cat left behind.  Had Ortiz been charged during Obama, it’s almost certain that he wouldn’t have been sent back until he had completed his sentence, if convicted.

Since Ortiz never got his trial, you’ll never “know” whether he was guilty or innocent of assaulting that girl.  He never got his day in court, and the state never got an opportunity to present its case.  Only the lawyers were privy to the discovery, and without a public trial, no one got to see the evidence.  Ortiz is now back in Colombia, and that trial will never happen.

And one more thing: Colombia has an extradition treaty with the U.S.  Now, whether that mechanism will be used to bring Ortiz back, when there are so many Hayekian purveyors of Bolivian marching powder from Colombia already on the queue, that’s another story.

*For whatever reason, Ortiz is MIA from the Miami-Dade Clerk’s website, meaning we don’t know the actual charges, or whether he had priors.

20 thoughts on “Machado: ICE to Local DA, Bite Me

  1. WarEagle82

    Is there any reason he can’t be tried in absentia? Of course, the worst part is that he is likely to sneak back into the country again and engage in further crimes. Never forget that illegal aliens tend to prey on the illegal alien community first and foremost.

    1. SHG

      To be tried in absentia, the defendant would first have to be given a warning that if he fails to appear, he will be tried in absentia, and then the failure to appear has to be the defendant’s fault for him to be denied his constitutional right to be present and exercise his rights at trial. So no, he couldn’t.

  2. Turk

    Deporting him and then extraditing him.

    There’s gotta be a good word or phrase for that, other than government dysfunction.

      1. Mario Machado

        No. I’d bet the house that he’s not.

        The fact that he’s not wanted by the feds makes it very, very unlikely. The Miami State Attorney’s Office has an extradition unit, but unless DOJ gets involved, he’s pretty much long gone. And unless he starts travelling all over and gets caught in, let’s say, the Bahamas.

          1. Turk

            Maybe, but I like the word deportradict.

            Not as good as pumpernickel, but still good.

            I’ll just show myself out now.

  3. David Meyer-Lindenberg

    Got nothing substantive to say, Mario, just that I miss reading your stuff every week. Never fail to learn something.

    1. Mario Machado

      Miss writing AND editing with you, my friend. And a post from you would be welcomed, to say the very least.

      If only there was a place that would make your post go live the next day…

      1. David Meyer-Lindenberg

        I tried submitting my work to reddit, but they turned me down. Something about “community standards.”

  4. hmonrdick

    ICE’s “idiocy” may not be quite as clear as you present, Mario, at least in California and, I presume, in other sanctuary states. The California courts have made it clear that, in their view, because a “detainer” is not a “warrant,” the locals have no obligation to honor it. Which means, for those jurisdictions in which ICE merely sever a “detainer,” the locals simply release the miscreant into the public domain without so much as giving ICE a “heads up.” I can’t speak for why ICE doesn’t routinely get warrants and serve them on the locals, which would seem easy enough to do, But they don’t.

    1. SHG

      They may not have to in California (which, I note, isn’t Florida, the locus of the post), but do they anyway? What it says in the funny pages doesn’t always reflect what happens in the real world.

    2. Mario Machado

      It’s idiotic for ICE to consider people with pending charges an enforcement priority, simply because enforcement priorities are extremely limited when compared to the number of people without papers.

      So that policy is worse than idiotic-it’s impossible to achieve. I was being uncharacteristically nice to ICE. There are states who give ICE a heads up when it comes to people without papers in county jails, and ICE still can’t manage to pick many of them up because there are not enough people out on the field to do so. As for your comment on ICE being able to get warrants “easily” to serve on locals, that is far removed from reality.

  5. Rigelsen

    Could the ICE policy have been a response to the “sanctuary” jurisdictions that refuse to honor immigration detainers? Of course, it’s still a dumb and counterproductive slap in the face to the jurisdictions that do cooperate, including Miami-Dade, who seem to have dropped their “sanctuary” status is 2017.

  6. Mario Machado

    The directive when it comes to people with pending charges is only one of the 7 contained in Section 5 of the January 2017 EO that I referenced. It’s part of a much broader – yet still extremely misguided – effort.

    I wish you guys would see the bigger picture, which goes way beyond the concept of sanctuary cities.

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