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Thread: NYC Defense Attorneys Kept In Dark About Ice Arrests, Lawyers Say

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NYC Defense Attorneys Kept In Dark About Ice Arrests, Lawyers Say

    NYC Defense Attorneys Kept In Dark About Ice Arrests, Lawyers Say

    The lack of communication makes it tough to make sure immigrants know their rights, attorneys say.

    By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff |
    Nov 26, 2017 10:00 am ET | Updated Nov 26, 2017 10:00 am ET

    NEW YORK, NY — Jasmine Rowe's Nov. 15 appearance at the Brooklyn criminal court was supposed to be boring. She and Sarah O'Leary, her Legal Aid defense attorney, spent about 10 minutes discussing Rowe's low-level assault case with the prosecution and Judge Rosemarie Montalbano.

    Rowe, a 40-year-old immigrant living in Flatbush with no prior criminal record, is fighting the charges. The judge told them all to have a nice holiday season and come back Jan. 10, O'Leary said.

    O'Leary spent a few more minutes discussing the case with Rowe before Rowe left the courtroom. When O'Leary walked into the hallway a few minutes later, she said, she found Rowe gone and her friend sitting distraught on a bench.

    "I don't understand, why are they arresting her?" O'Leary recalled the friend telling her.

    O'Leary had no idea Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were waiting outside the courtroom to arrest Rowe.

    She's among a growing number of criminal defense attorneys kept in the dark when ICE plans to arrest their clients, lawyers and immigrant-rights advocates say.

    The state Office of Court Administration's protocol requires ICE agents to tell court officers when they come to make an arrest. But no one has to tell lawyers when an arrest is imminent.

    O'Leary was able to give Rowe a quick primer on her rights in immigration custody before ICE took her away, she said. But defense attorneys don't get that chance if ICE whisks away their clients without their knowledge, according to lawyers.

    That can leave immigrants with a lack of knowledge about what to do if they're searched or interrogated while in ICE custody, said Lee Wang, a staff attorney with the Immigrant Defense Project, an advocacy group that tracks ICE arrests at New York courts.

    "It's almost kind of like they're defending their clients with their hands tied behind their backs," Wang said. "If they don't have the information, how are they supposed to stand up for their clients' rights?"

    Immigrants have a right to speak to a lawyer and don't have to answer questions or sign anything, according to the IDP. New York City and the state offer to pay for legal help with immigration proceedings.

    But if somone doesn't know those things when they're arrested, they could end up answering questions and giving the government evidence to use against them in immigration court, lawyers said.

    It also becomes harder for immigrants to defend themselves in criminal cases — and for local prosecutors to try them — when ICE takes them to immigration detention centers in sometimes far-off locations, Wang said.

    Immigration arrests at New York City courthouses have skyrocketed 600 percent in the past year, according to Immigration Defense Project data published earlier this month. The IDP counted 78 ICE arrests in New York City as of Nov. 14, up from just 11 in all of 2016.

    In many cases, public defenders learn only from other attorneys that ICE has arrested someone in a courthouse, said Patricia Lavelle, a staff attorney in the Legal Aid Society's Brooklyn immigration law unit.

    ICE officers have to identify themselves to court personnel when they come to make an arrest, according to protocol set by the Office of Court Administration, a state agency. Court officers must then inform judges if ICE plans to arrest someone involved in a hearing over which they're presiding.

    Judges can let attorneys for both sides know that the defendant may be arrested after a hearing, OCA spokesman Lucian Chalfen said. But whether to do so is entirely up to the judges.

    "This advisement is intended to give defense counsel time to advise the defendant regarding his immigration case and, if appropriate, give time to execute a notice of appearance to attach the right of counsel," Chalfen said in an email.

    An ICE spokesperson has not yet answered questions that Patch emailed Wednesday. But a spokeswoman told Politico New York in August that arresting immigrants at courthouses comes with a lower safety risk for ICE agents.

    "Because courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband, the safety risks for the arresting officers and for the arrestee inside such a facility are substantially diminished," the ICE spokeswoman, Rachel Yong Yow, told Politico. "As such, ICE plans to continue arresting individuals in courthouse environments as necessary, based on operational circumstances."

    On the day ICE arrested Rowe, O'Leary spent the afternoon trying to inform tell family — including her 16-year-old son — what had happened. As of Wednesday, O'Leary still hadn't been able to speak with the single mom, who was taken to an immigrant detention center in New Jersey.

    Until this year, O'Leary had never heard of ICE arresting people in criminal courts in her eight years with Legal Aid. She said court officers should cooperate more with lawyers when ICE comes to courthouses.

    But she and other attorneys say ICE agents shouldn't be allowed in the courts at all. New York City limits local authorities' communication and cooperation with ICE..

    "This is a whole new era for us, and is a terrifying place that we are walking into," O'Leary said.

    artist, Beezer and lorrie like this.

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    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    lorrie, nomas and artist like this.


  3. #3
    Senior Member nomas's Avatar
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    NC and Canada. Got a foot in both worlds
    Ya know what? This is crap, an "immigrant" legal or illegal should be smart enough to stay out of trouble and not get arrested. When I became a Canadian citizen it was stressed DO NOT get in any type of legal trouble, you run a high risk of being deported.

    Personally I don't care where they arrest trouble makers, if a sanctuary city such as NYC refuses to co-operate with ICE get wherever you can!
    artist and Beezer like this.

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