February 8, 2007

Watching the House: Different Perspectives on Illegal Immigration

Marc Comtois

Then there is H 5367 (Proposed by Representatives Peter Palumbo--Deputy Majority Leader, Stephen Ucci, Joe Trillo, Raymond Church, and Arthur Corvese) which seeks to create "THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION RELIEF ACT". The purpose of which is:

This chapter seeks to secure to those lawfully present in the United States and this state, whether or not they are citizens of the United States, the right to live in peace free of the threat [of] crime, to enjoy the public services provided by this state without being burdened by the cost of providing goods, support and services to aliens unlawfully present in the United States, and to be free of the debilitating effects on their economic and social well being imposed by the influx of illegal aliens to the fullest extent that these goals can be achieved consistent with the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the state of Rhode Island.
Read it all. It holds both illegal immigrants and those who employe accountable. Meanwhile, H 5392 (Proposed by Representatives Jon Brien, Douglas Gablinske, Arthur Corvese, Palumbo, and Timothy Williamson--Senior Deputy Majority Leader) puts the onus completely upon the employer side of the equation. Technically, it is an attempt to get Rhode Island to get in line with the "Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003", which extended the Federal employment eligibility verification program. Note that both bills were sponsored by Palumbo and Corvese, which may indicated that they will eventually be consolidated. At least I hope so. The problem with the second bill is that it, in essence, appears to hammer employers but leave alone the illegal immigrants themselves. That is only a half-way measure.

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301 6992636

Meet Stephanie Mohr, dangerous and hardened criminal, now serving a ten year prison sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, thanks to tenacious federal prosecutors and tough judge.
Stephanie’s crime? Her dog bit a man in the leg.
This was not just any dog. Valk, a German Shepherd, worked for the Prince George’s County Police Department, Maryland. Police Officer Stephanie Mohr was his K-9 partner.
The victim? Ricardo Mendez, an illegal alien from El Salvador, complete with criminal record, was found with an accomplice by police at 1 a.m. atop the roof of a commercial building in the suburb of Takoma Park, Maryland.
Prosecutors were able to convince a jury, that the dog bite wasn’t necessary, thus violating Ricardo’s civil rights. And for that, Stephanie Mohr, age 35, decorated cop, loyal daughter, devoted mother...is spending ten years in the prime of her life in a prison cell, branded a criminal for life.
Everyone reading this must be shaking their heads. Here, in the land of the free, where we cherish a constitution painstakingly designed to protect Americans from injustice, the justice system creates its own injustice.
There’s more to this incredible story.
* Stephanie Mohr wasn’t charged with a crime until five years later, one day before the statute of limitations expired.
* Neither of the two illegals, including the man that was bitten, ever filed a complaint.
* The case took two trials. In the first, eleven jurors voted for acquittal, with one hold-out. But the government went after her again, this time gaining a conviction.
* The main prosecution witness faced criminal charges and testified in exchange for a deal
It happened on September 21, 1995. Stephanie had been a cop for two years. Her short career — serving and protecting the citizens of Prince George’s County, Maryland, — had already been dotted with deeds resulting in 25 letters of commendation and two awards. In one act of heroism, a group of juvenile drug dealers ambushed Stephanie and fired 40 shots in an assassination attempt. She survived, unharmed. (The shooters were charged with attempted murder on a police officer, and received eight years in jail. They were out in 18 months)
Inexperienced as a K-9 handler, Stephanie was riding with a senior officer, Anthony Delozier, when they received a back-up call to the Takoma Park Police Department. Takoma Park cops were on a stake-out after a rash of roof top burglaries in the area. It paid off. Two suspects were found atop a commercial building. K-9 was called to assist, along with the helicopter unit.
Prosecutors would later say these were just two homeless men looking for a place to eat and sleep. Well, of course. Illegal aliens often enjoy dining and sleeping on commercial rooftops. The pattern of rooftop burglaries in the area and their extensive records as criminals was apparently irrelevant.
When they arrived on the scene, with the police helicopter hovering, Officer Delozier conferred with the Takoma Park Sergeant, Dennis Bonn, in the staging area to determine the nature of the call. In cop lingo, he asked, “Is it a bite case?” Translated, he was asking if this was a felony which, if necessary, would justify an apprehension by dog — instead of gun. The two suspects came down the building on the back side, next to an alley. Stephanie, Delozier, Bonn and one other cop waited with guns drawn. They ordered the suspects to freeze, hands up. One suspect appeared jittery, barely raised his hands to waist level while jabbering in Spanish to his cohort. According to Stephanie, Delozier, and the other officer, Mendez made a move like he might break for it. Stephanie released the dog who then bit the man on the leg.
Both suspects were sent to jail, and were later deported from the U.S. Case closed?
In the ensuing five years, and for a decade prior, a number of questionable incidents occurred within the Prince George’s County and Takoma Park police departments alleging rampant abuse by police officers toward minorities. Law suits had been filed against several cops, including those in K-9. Media ran several stories. One of the cops under scrutiny for brutality and facing a number of civil rights charges, was Sergeant Dennis Bonn, the same Takoma Park supervisor who was on the scene of the 1995 apprehension by Stephanie’s dog.
The prosecutors also managed to get support from Takoma Park cop, Keith Largent who opined that the dog bite was not really necessary. Sergeant Bonn contradicted Delozier’s testimony saying the question was asked, “Can the dog have a bite?” long after the suspects came off the building and were in custody.
Armed with Bonn’s testimony, federal prosecutors charged Stephanie Mohr and Anthony Delozier with conspiracy and violating the civil rights of the illegal alien under color of law.
Imagine that, a foreigner with a criminal record breaks the law to enter this country, and he’s automatically awarded civil rights. And it’s the cop who goes to jail.
Also charged, was Takoma Park Officer, Brian Rich, who the government said filed false charges against the men. After a hung jury, the judge dismissed all charges. Rich later became an FBI agent.
Mohr and Delozier were nearly acquitted in the first trial, but for one hold-out on the jury. Normally, a prosecution office will not go through the expense and time to retry a case under such circumstances. Nor would they defy the spirit of double jeopardy protections. But, this “crime” was so detestable, determined prosecutors went after the two of them again, this time with a new approach. After trial number one, they had the advantage of knowing the defense strategy. Weak government witnesses were not called for trial number two, including the lead FBI agent in charge, Marc Savine. For trial number two, prosecutors unearthed a couple of new witnesses — unrelated to the Mendez bite — who would testify that Stephanie Mohr was prejudiced toward minorities, as evidenced by other incidents, post 1995, when her dog apprehended and/or bit minority suspects. They excavated the original illegal alien from a jail cell in El Salvador to come and testify against her. The other illegal alien was brought back from a prison in Texas.
Delozier was acquitted of conspiracy in the second trial. He’s back on the police beat, now a lieutenant. One can only imagine his attitude toward the law.
In August of 2002, Officer Stephanie Mohr was hauled away in handcuffs, her life a shambles. The judge sentenced her to ten years. The government reveled in victory, claiming justice had prevailed. Or did it?
The loser was not just Stephanie Mohr. In a time when our society laments over too many one-parent homes, her son, Adam, age 4, will have to spend his formative years growing up without a mom in the home.
A decorated career cop who would have gone on to a stellar career protecting local citizens from criminal predators, has been excoriated and damaged for life.
Instead of her paying taxes and contributing to our society, she is now relegated to a social dependent, supported by you and me.
Some truly dangerous criminal will remain free to commit crimes against innocent civilians because Stephanie Mohr occupies that prison bed.
Under the proverbial microscope, police officers today are no longer proactive enforcers of the law, but mere reporting agents who are afraid to make one wrong move for fear of Monday morning quarterbacks demanding “justice”. Stephanie Mohr serves as an example why cops don’t dare do police work any more, lest they end up in prison instead of the criminals.

The travesty of justice in Mohr’s case was perpetuated by prosecutors out to pacify an outraged minority community who had been victimized over two decades by abusive officers not held in check by their departments. Stephanie Mohr was the sacrificial lamb, paying the price of many before her. They went after innocent prey, because they could.
I’ve tried to keep an open mind thinking there must be more to the story. Perhaps Stephanie Mohr had been over zealous in her approach toward police work. Perhaps she should have shown more restraint. Maybe the release of the dog wasn’t absolutely necessary. I’ve often heard those grey areas argued by sofa-sitting second-guessers over my career, but none of them can know what it feels like in that moment requiring a split second decision. Even if Stephanie Mohr was completely guilty, she deserved nothing more than a reprimand, a suspension or perhaps, a transfer to another unit. For certain, she deserves to be home with her son, and on the job working with prosecutors, not dodging them. She does not belong in prison.
Stephanie’s lawyers are working on an appeal, saying she had ineffective counsel and other legal issues. But we all know how painfully slow that process goes. It may be another three or four years before those legal issues are resolved. Meanwhile, she wallows as federal inmate number 36547-037, criminal.
Where is the outrage? Where is the brotherhood of police organizations? Where is the voice of 700,000 American cops who stand just as vulnerable to this kind of persecution because they carry a badge. Police officers are the first line of defense in a nation riddled with crime and the fear of terror, yet they stand as prime targets for government officials who occasionally need to grease the squeaky wheel. Cops must stand up and be counted, and let the nation know they are just as entitled to protections from injustice as any American.
The four drug-dealing juveniles who fired forty shots in an attempt to kill Officer Stephanie Mohr, served 18 months in jail. Compare that to Stephanie Mohr’s sentence.
Willie McJones is a career criminal who has spent his life in and out of prison, preying upon the innocent, stealing, robbing and breaking into houses. He has proven to be a dangerous man. He was arrested for killing a cohort during a drug deal. McJones served five years of a seven year manslaughter sentence. Compare that to Stephanie Mohr’s sentence.
There are thousands of real criminals — perhaps millions — just like McJones, on the streets preying upon the innocent, ravaging homes and businesses, stealing assaulting, pushing narcotics to the young, habitually breaking laws. They don’t get half of Stephanie’s punishment. Many are known criminals — parasites — who the justice system has protected with an array of constitutional rights, allowing them to perpetuate their criminal behavior right under out noses. Stephanie Mohr has been a law abiding, tax paying, contributing citizen, yet she wallows in a prison cell in lieu of real criminals, a prized trophy for prosecutors hell-bent on satisfying vocal minorities.
The United States justice system cages 2.1 million human beings at any given time, by far the largest prison inmate population, per capita, of any nation in the world. If Stephanie Mohr serves as an example of success in fighting crime, then it’s time we start taking a closer look at the whole system. After all, this is the land of the free. Or...is it?
Winning was everything. But mistakes are made, as evidenced by the number of releases from death row in America over the last several years, innocent inmates who have suffered horribly from a justice system that hinged their cases upon mistaken eye witness identification or grubby snitches pandering for a deal.
What greater motive to lie, than to stay out of jail? Yet, the system validates such deals because it promotes successful verdicts within the arena of legal combat. That’s all that really matters. Winning.
That’s what happened to Stephanie Mohr. Mother. Police officer. Citizen. Victim. Dennis Bonn cut a deal, and he gained liberty in exchange for wanted testimony.
It can happen to anyone. It can happen to me and to you, so long as the politics of the moment serve the cause. It actually frightens me to write this article and see it published. Maybe they’ll come after me next. How sad, we must fear our own government, while we commit 150,000 troops to free the people of another country 10,000 miles away.
Police officers are our first line of protection. A bad cop here and there must surely be dismissed and even prosecuted. But...for a dog bite? On an illegal alien dope-dealing thief? Ten years of a human being’s life, wasted?
This is abominable.

Posted by: DAVID MOHR at March 2, 2007 9:49 AM

This whole story makes me sick. Not only will I contribute to Stephanie's legal defense fund, my husband and I will begin praying for her. Her reward is due and will be paid.

Posted by: Harriet Coxxx at July 12, 2010 9:30 PM
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