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- 04-18-2012, 07:22 AM #1
Judge wants more information on illegal immigrant witness
Judge wants more information on illegal immigrant witness
April 18, 2012
By Julie Manganis Staff writer
SALEM — More than two years after a federal jury found a former Homeland Security official from Salem guilty of encouraging her cleaning woman — an illegal immigrant from Brazil — to stay in the country, a judge now wants to know by the end of the week what kind of deal prosecutors may have struck with the maid in exchange for her testimony and other help.
Lorraine Henderson, 54, was the Boston-area director of Customs and Border Protection, an agency that, among its various responsibilities, is charged with preventing illegal immigrants from entering the country.
So when it was discovered that the cleaning woman Henderson hired to clean her Brittania Circle condo was in the United States illegally, the case made national headlines.
Fabiana Bitencourt, who was living in Peabody, wore a hidden recording device to capture conversations in which the two discussed her immigration status and later testified against Henderson at the trial. Federal prosecutors alleged that Henderson ignored a warning as early as 2006 that Bitencourt was here illegally, and that she continued paying Bitencourt for a month after learning there was no legal way for Bitencourt to stay in the United States.
Three months after her March 2010 conviction, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock excoriated "overzealous" prosecutors for having "crushed" Henderson's life. Instead of sentencing Henderson, he heard arguments from her lawyer on motions to set aside the jury's verdict and acquit her, or alternatively grant her a new trial.
Woodlock didn't sentence Henderson that day in June 2010 and instead took defense lawyer Francis DiMento's motions under advisement — where they've remained for nearly two years.
Prosecutors have twice filed motions asking the judge to rule on the defense motions and proceed to sentencing in the case.
Yesterday, Woodlock issued an order that prosecutors file a report by the end of the week outlining any "promises, rewards or inducements offered to date to the cooperating witness, Fabiana Bitencourt." The judge also ordered that the report include Bitencourt's current immigration status and any current or planned actions to adjust her status.
Woodlock's order says he needs the information for "full consideration" of the defense motions.
Neither DiMento nor a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office returned calls yesterday seeking comment on the judge's order.
Henderson, who once earned $140,000 a year in her job, wound up working at PetSmart and taking in a roommate to make ends meet, her lawyer said at the time.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or email@example.com
Judge wants more information on illegal immigrant witness » Local News » SalemNews.com, Salem, MAThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 04-18-2012, 07:50 AM #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
- somewhere near Mexico I reckon!
$140,000 a year and can't afford a legal American house cleaner, stick this backstabbing traitor under the prison!
"We the People" uncover these criminals, and Obama's liberal judges defend them!
- 04-18-2012, 09:35 AM #3
Judge wants answers from feds in ex-immigration chief’s conviction
By Laurel J. Sweet
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A federal judge yesterday broke his silence on a case he once criticized as “overreaching,” demanding an update on the immigration status of a Brazilian cleaning lady whose testimony in 2010 took down her former boss, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for New England ports.
U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock has delayed sentencing for two years for Lorraine Henderson, 54, of Salem, convicted of encouraging maid Fabiana Bitencourt to stay in the country illegally. His new order only gives prosecutors until Friday to report on “any promises, rewards or inducements offered” to Bitencourt for her cooperation, including, “a report concerning her current immigration status.”
Woodlock indicated in his one-page court filing he will use the information to rule on whether to grant Henderson’s request for a new trial, or to sweep aside her March 2010 conviction altogether and enter a judgment of acquittal.
Henderson’s conviction could bring up to five years behind bars, though prosecutors previously recommended three years of probation, the first eight months spent in a halfway house and home confinement. Her attorney declined comment.
Christina Sterling of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, “The government’s response will be made through its court filing.”
Bitencourt was recruited to be an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She testified at Henderson’s trial that she sought Henderson’s help to get a passport, but that Henderson told her, “You can’t leave, don’t leave, ’cause once you leave, you will never be back.”
Judge wants answers from feds in ex-immigration chief’s conviction - BostonHerald.com
- 04-18-2012, 09:44 AM #4
Need your help here please
Call Mitt Romney Campaign and Tell Him Do Not Support Amnesty
Call Mitt Romney Now To Ask Him Not To Support Amnesty For Illegal AliensThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 04-30-2012, 11:57 PM #5
Monday, April 30, 2012Last Update: 12:45 PM PT
New Trial for Fed Who Employed Alien
By LORRAINE BAILEY
Courthouse News Service
(CN) - A former customs officer convicted for employing an illegal immigrant as a maid can get a new trial, a federal judge ruled, saying it was "overkill" for the government to pursue felony prosecution instead of administrative sanctions.
Lorraine Henderson became U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director for the Boston area in 2003, beating out several other contenders, including Nora Ehrlich. In that capacity, Henderson was responsible for deporting illegal aliens found in the ports of entry that she oversaw.
After moving to Boston from Washington, D.C., for the job, Henderson hired a cleaning lady who advertised in her condominium complex. After Fabiana Bitencourt, cleaned Henderson's Boston townhouse once every two weeks for $75, Henderson recommended the Brazilian worker to Ehrlich.
Ehrlich fired Bitencourt in 2005 when she found out that the worker was in the country illegally. When Henderson was due for a promotion three years later, Ehrlich prompted an investigation of Henderson's relationship with Bitencourt.
During a surreptitiously recorded conversation, Bitencourt asked Henderson whether she could help her "to be good ... legal." Henderson repeatedly told Bitencourt that she could not leave the country. "Once you leave you will never be back," Henderson said.
Henderson then consulted with a subordinate at the office for immigration advice on Bitencourt's behalf.
In December 2008, Henderson was arrested for encouraging or inducing an illegal alien to reside in the United States. A jury found her guilty in 2010, after asking for further instruction regarding what "encouraging" and "inducing" meant. The verdict carried a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock ordered a new trial Wednesday, finding that jury received inadequate instructions.
"I view the pursuit of this case to have been overkill through the improvident invocation of federal criminal felony process when alternative administrative sanctions more closely tailored to the significance of the misconduct are available and adequate," Woodlock wrote. "And I am puzzled by the dogged consistency which causes this prosecution to continue."
"The cleaning lady's employment was not itself illegal under regulations promulgated by the attorney general of the United States," he added. And the empathetic advice that the defendant gave her cleaning lady about immigration law practices - induced from the defendant as part of the script contrived for an elaborate undercover investigation involving surreptitious electronic recordings into her relationship with the cleaning lady - did not advise the cleaning lady to engage in fraud or commit some other crime."
When giving his jury instructions, Woodlock told the jurors:
"One of the great federal judges from Massachusetts, Oliver Wendell Holmes, said that, 'A word is the skin of a living thought.' And what you have are the words 'encourage' and 'induce,' and you have to understand what it is that is throbbing within that skin, what is it that we can say, as a community, we are subjecting people to criminal sanction for if they encourage and induce under these circumstances."
"I observed a number of knitted juror brows, as they absorbed the gravity of the task and the lack of tight and specific direction from the court," the 50-page opinion states.
Within two hours later, the jurors asked for more specific instruction as to the meaning of "encourage" and "induce," and Woodlock provided them with the words' dictionary definitions. They returned a guilty verdict shortly thereager.
"I am satisfied there is no question that those instructions were erroneous because they were too open textured and did not require the jury to find substantiality to any encouragement or inducement," Woodlock said Wednesday, relying on 3rd Circuit precedent.
"With proper instruction, the jury could readily have found that Bitencourt or an illegal alien in her position would have resided in the United States irrespective of Henderson's employment and advice, and that Henderson's employment or advice did not make it more likely that she would continue to reside in the United States," he added.
Quoting ancient Greek historian Thucydides, Woodlock said, "Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most."
Prosecutors must re-examine their motives, he added.
"The lessons of proportionate restraint while pursuing measured judgment, in the face of unreasoning outrage, require careful calibration of the level of culpability for modest misconduct," the decision states. "These are lessons often difficult to accept, master, and deliver. Their application begins in the criminal context with the prosecutor's charging decision and, if necessary, end with such judgment as the courts are permitted to exercise.
In the absence of some greater exercise of restraint by the prosecution in this case, it is necessary to conduct a new trial to assure proper judgment by the court."
Courthouse News ServiceWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.