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  1. #1
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    Walmart employee-Illegal Alien Released Pending Trial

    http://www.rocktownweekly.com/news_deta ... 664&CHID=1





    October 5, 2006 Web dnronline.com Archives


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    October 6, 2006 9:26 AM

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    Illegal Alien Released Pending Wreck Trial Posted 2006-10-06

    $1,000 Bond Granted To Guatemalan Who Told Cops Of Status


    By David Reynolds





    HARRISONBURG — A man arrested on a reckless-driving charge after a wreck last week admitted to police that he is an illegal alien.

    But on Monday, after a weekend in jail, Rockingham County General District Judge John Paul released him pending trial, according to court records.

    Marlon Wilfredo Vega Herrarte, 24, is out on $1,000 unsecured bond. Court records say he told police he is an illegal alien from Guatemala who has been in this country eight months. He works at Wal-Mart, the file says.

    Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Correy Smith says Vega Herrarte’s immigration status wasn’t discussed at Monday’s bond hearing, and he didn’t know the defendant was an illegal immigrant. If he had, he says, he would have objected to bond.

    In addition to reckless driving, Vega Herrarte is charged with two counts of possessing false documents — an ID card and a birth certificate — as well as driving without a license and operating an uninsured vehicle, all misdemeanors, according to court records.

    Dayton police arrested him after his release from Rockingham Memorial Hospital following a car wreck on Va. 42, last Thursday.

    His attorney, Aaron Cook, says it’s not unusual for judges to release illegal aliens charged with nonviolent crimes on bond. The belief that they don’t return to court is a misconception, he said.

    But prosecutors say that in many cases when illegal aliens are arrested, authorities don’t know their true identity, criminal history or how to track them if they flee.

    Vega Herrarte is set to return to court on Oct. 27 at 9 a.m.

    The Wreck

    Last Thursday, Vega Herrarte crashed the Nissan sedan he was driving at about 10:40 a.m. on Va. 42 in Dayton, according to police. Eyewitnesses told police he was racing another vehicle northbound at the time of the accident. The other driver fled the scene.

    Cook says his client wasn’t racing and would not confirm his client is an illegal alien, a question he says is irrelevant at a bond hearing. It’s not unusual, he said, for a judge to give bond to first-time, nonviolent offenders — even if they are illegal.

    "What a judge looks at [in bond hearings] is — is the person likely to come to court, and are they a danger to the community," Cook said. As for whether they show up for hearings, he says, "immigration status is irrelevant."

    Also, most immigration violations are federal crimes, and Vega Herrarte faces only misdemeanors in state court, Cook said. He is not charged with being an illegal alien.

    "Our local jail does not hold people for being undocumented unless [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has paperwork charging them with being undocumented and ordering them held," he said.

    Sometimes authorities will hold illegal aliens until the case can go before a judge, because officers believe they’re a flight risk. But that creates a double standard, Cook said, based on the mistaken belief that undocumented people are less likely to show up for court.

    What leads people to flee are serious charges carrying stiff penalties, Cook said, not immigration status.

    Risks Difficult To Assess

    Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Nagy will prosecute the case, but didn’t handle Vega Herrarte’s bond hearing.

    He agreed with Cook that the primary questions judges consider at bond hearings are whether a defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community.

    But when defendants are illegal, it’s more difficult to thoroughly assess those risks, Nagy said.

    "We don’t know who they are," he said. "And we don’t have a valid criminal history or driving record."

    And although some illegal aliens have been here long enough to have extensive ties to the community, Nagy says, many are more of a flight risk.

    "There’s nothing holding them here and nothing stopping them from running back to where they’re from."

    Thus, Nagy says, judges often require defendants to provide a passport, visa or green card to prove their identity before giving them bond.

    John Simley, spokesman for Wal-Mart, which court records say is Vega Herrarte’s employer, says the company does not knowingly hire illegal immigrants. They also have trained employees to spot fake documents — something he says is not a common problem with Wal-Mart applicants. "For a company as large as we are, the incidence [of applicants using fake documents] is low."

    Contact David Reynolds at 574-6278 or reynolds@dnronline.com
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Marlon Wilfredo Vega Herrarte, 24, is out on $1,000 unsecured bond. Court records say he told police he is an illegal alien from Guatemala who has been in this country eight months. He works at Wal-Mart, the file says.
    Doesn't soud as though Wal-Mart checks their employees very closely. Harrisonburg VA is a small colege town and I would bet that there are plenty of legal citizens that work there. On my opinion, companies hire these people because they want to - they can work them more hours than they pay them for and know they won't complain.
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    Senior Member swatchick's Avatar
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    You are right Newmexican. Also has anyone in this case notified ICE. If they are not notified, the guy can stay once he gets out of jail. As for the crap regarding them being discriminated against as they claim illegals being a higher flight risk, this is unacceptable. They broke laws before and using fake ID, they can take off elsewhere and get into another Hispanic area and find out where to get another fake ID. Come on people are you that ignorant?
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    Why would this guy stay around? Walmart will fire him, then he can buy a new ID and steal someones Social security number and keep on driving without a license and operating an uninsured vehicle and racing.
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    Senior Member loservillelabor's Avatar
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    What leads people to flee are serious charges carrying stiff penalties, Cook said, not immigration status.
    Well it didn't really play out that way for a Houston police officer, did it? Immigration status was mighty serious to that illegal alien.
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    His attorney, Aaron Cook, says it’s not unusual for judges to release illegal aliens charged with nonviolent crimes on bond. The belief that they don’t return to court is a misconception, he said.
    Tell that to the thousands upon thousands that have skipped out on bail over the last couple years!

    You know, I knew Secretary Chertoff was blowing smoke up our butts when I heard him tell the nation that catch & release had officially ended in the United States. The guy was effectively caught and released, regardless of any other small details.


    Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Correy Smith says Vega Herrarte’s immigration status wasn’t discussed at Monday’s bond hearing, and he didn’t know the defendant was an illegal immigrant. If he had, he says, he would have objected to bond.
    Yeah, right! You knew darn well the guy was an illegal immigrant. In view of the following, how could you not have known:

    In addition to reckless driving, Vega Herrarte is charged with two counts of possessing false documents — an ID card and a birth certificate — as well as driving without a license and operating an uninsured vehicle, all misdemeanors, according to court records.
    I guess next you'll be telling us you fell asleep when the charges were read to the judge. I have one question, why wasn't ICE contacted when it was discovered Mr. Herrarte was an illegal immigrant. Every court in the land should be required to contact ICE when an illegal immigrant appears before a judge, regardless of the reason for his or her appearance. ICE should be waiting outside the court room with handcuffs in the ready position.

    Vega Herrarte is set to return to court on Oct. 27 at 9 a.m.
    I hope there is a follow up story on this - it would be interesting to know if this illegal immigrant actually showed up for his court date. Also, if anyone has a point of contact for ICE in that area, please do your country a favor and inform them of Mr. Herrarte's court date and time.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  7. #7
    Senior Member swatchick's Avatar
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    I wonder what their police department policy is on illegals. In Dade County, if we are allowed to ask about immigration status and if they claim to be illegal we have to notify ICE.
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