Attorneys for 15 immigrants arrested during a federal sweep in New Haven June 6 were successful Wednesday in getting Judge Michael W. Straus to lower the bonds for all but two of the immigrants.
One-by-one the men, in handcuffs and leg irons, shuffled into the courtroom as attorneys and law students from Yale and the University of Connecticut took turns defending the men’s strong ties to the community, church, employment and enrollment in English classes.
The bonds ranged from $2,000 to $25,000 and many of the bonds were lowered from $15,000 to $7,000. At the end of the day, the total bond amount for all 15 men was about $130,000.
Father Jim Manship of St. Rose of Lima Church, who vouched for many of the men Wednesday, said he’s confident the community will be able to raise enough money to help the men post their bonds.
The bonds were set by the Department of Homeland Security and attorneys who declared the bond hearing a success said the judge saw fit to lower the bonds, which they said were “excessively high.”
Four of the 30 swept up in New Haven on June 6 were able to post the $15,000 bond they were given and have been released. Two more had their $15,000 bonds reduced by a judge in Boston to $3,500 and $1,500 and were released last week. One woman remains in New York where lead attorney Michael Wishnie said they were successful in obtaining a “stay” in her deportation. Four more of the immigrants detained by DHS will have their bond hearings on Friday.
The two men that didn’t have their bonds lowered by the judge had criminal records. Christian Rodriguez was arrested and charged with drunk driving, solicitation, promoting prostitution and forgery.
Leigh Mapplebeck, lead counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said New York has also issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Manship, who filed affidavits for many of the men, wrote a personal note to the court regarding Rodriguez explaining that his father was killed in a car accident a few years ago and he moved to New Haven to live with his father’s brother.
Wishnie said he was unaware of the bench warrant for his arrest. He said he was aware that Rodriguez didn’t appear for a court date at one point, because he was mugged and injured the day before his appearance.
The judge also did not lower Cirilo Sedino-Trujillo’s $25,000 bond based on his two drunk driving arrests and failure to appear. Mapplebeck described him as a “danger to the community” and said he had an “uncontrollable alcohol problem.”
Mapplebeck said a handful of the other men “flouted immigration laws,” by crossing back over the border after their initial run in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
For instance, Edinzon Fernando Yangua-Calva, paid a smuggler $10,000 to cross the Mexican border, Mapplebeck said. She presented a fraudulent Mexican voter ID card as evidence in the case. Yangua-Calva’s attorney’s, said they find it hard to believe the government found the ID on him because they pulled him out of his bed when they arrested him and his brother.
Straus asked the court translator to ask Yangua-Calva why he had a fraudulent Mexican ID. Through the translator, he said, “The ID was given to me when I crossed from Mexico.”
Straus then asked him why he kept it. “It was given to me so I kept it at home. I never thought to throw it away,” he said.
Mapplebeck said they are given the ID cards at the border so if they’re detained by Mexican officials they’re not arrested in that country.
Straus ended up lowering Yangua-Calva’s bond to $6,000.