Local Immigration Attorney Talks about Experience with Reisig

Protestors outside of US Immigration Office

By Ann Block

I am a local immigration attorney, in practice for over 30 years.  I have advised criminal defense attorneys all over the state for the last 15 years, so I have been able to observe how D.A.s work all over California, at least with regard to immigrants.  I can say without hesitation that Yolo County is even worse than Orange County, regarding unjust and anti-immigrant policies. The following is based on my personal knowledge and experience, my discussions with Deputy DAs and Public Defenders and my assistance in the representation in the last case cited.

For most of his time in office, Mr. Reisig has refused to assist immigrant victims of serious crimes, including victims of domestic violence, if their cases were “closed.” He refused to certify that they cooperated with his office, even though they had done so, in order that the immigrant victim could go on to apply for “U” victim of crime status with USCIS (Immigration Service).

He claimed “it wasn’t the intent of Congress” despite the fact that USCIS law enforcement guidelines specifically stated that D.A.s could always certify in such cases, despite the fact that the chief law enforcement liaison for these cases at USCIS directly contacted Reisig’s office to tell him he could do so, and despite the fact that most D.A.s prefer waiting until cases are closed to certify victim cooperation. This anti-immigrant stance has harmed many crime victims in Yolo County.

Reisig’s office has also refused to consider deportation as an additional “punishment” for those he charges, and to negotiate pleas with defense attorneys to help lawful permanent residents (green card holders) as well as undocumented immigrants remain qualified to apply for immigration status to remain with their citizen spouses and children in the U.S. Some very minor offenses lead to deportation by the federal government, and/or denial of legal residency, such as writing a bad check, shoplifting, sitting in a park and being under the influence of marijuana, simple possession of a controlled substance (including marijuana).

Immigrants will often accept harsher criminal sentences, more time in jail, or even accept a felony “strike” that they haven’t committed, in order to avoid being deported and torn from their families. Reisig’s office has long refused to consider anything related to immigration as a factor in their decisions, stating it would somehow be “unconstitutional” even though the U.S. Supreme Court said otherwise, in 2009, as did the California Supreme Court, even before the federal courts.

Mr. Reisig also prosecuted an immigrant mother for abducting her own baby, for leaving the U.S. when the federal government ordered her to leave as her immigration status had expired. The violent father of her baby, who had initially wanted nothing to do with the child, filed for custody after she had left the area and had gone to L.A. to await a flight home to South Korea.

When she returned several years later to the U.S. so that her daughter could learn English, she was arrested at the airport, her daughter torn away from her, and she was held in jail without bond and without seeing her 4-year-old daughter for over a year and a half – and was ultimately convicted of a misdemeanor.

The father, in court, admitted to picking the petite mother of his child up by the neck and throwing her against a wall. The deputy D.A. claimed she “provoked him.” The father was never prosecuted for domestic violence.

Finally, some local attorneys fear retaliation from the District Attorney’s office if they speak up in this race.  I have been personally informed, about two months ago, by an attorney who said she is afraid to endorse Dean Johannson publicly, for fear of the negative impact it could have on her immigrant crime victim clients who need certification of their cooperation from Mr. Reisig’s office.  No one should fear speaking up regarding the policies and politics of an elected official.  Yet here we are.  I urge our Yolo County communities to vote for a change – for Dean Johansson for District Attorney.

Ann Block is a Davis resident and an immigration attorney

 

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38 Comments

  1. Cecilia EscamillaGreenwald

    Ann E. Block, Thank you for this article. It’s sad, but not surprising. This type of fear and intimidation of others who disagree with him seem to be the method of operation for our current DA, Jeff Reisig. It is definitely time for change. Just as communities all over the U.S. are standing up and saying that it’s time for change from the bully DAs in their county many here in Yolo County are standing up and saying it’s time for change from the bully DA in Yolo County. We can do better. I am voting Dean 4 DA and urging others to do the same.  Please spread the word and tell your friends.

  2. Ken A

    When Ann writes: “For most of his time in office, Mr. Reisig has refused to assist immigrant victims of serious crimes” I’m wondering if she is just talking about ILLEGAL immigrants or if Resig also “refuses” to assist anyone not born in America.

    P.S. To Highbeam I’m pretty sure Ann wanted to put a space between no and one “Noone should fear speaking up”…

    1. Howard P

      The Emptyprize is pretty much the only ‘publication’ in Davis… correct that… I guess since they moved the ‘publication’ out of town, they’re right up there with the Bee, People, National Enquirer, WSJ, LA Times, etc… good point… not.

      It is clear you agree with anyone who agrees with you… surprising… not

      1. Keith O

        Both you and Howard are making assumptions that I agree with every Enterprise article or endorsement.  I simply stated that I agree with their endorsement of Reisig.  Now David, let’s not kid anyone, you know you would be touting an Enterprise endorsement of Johannson if it had gone that way.

        1. Howard P

          and Howard are making assumptions that I agree with every Enterprise article or endorsement.

          Incorrect… I posted no such thing… there was little ‘assumption’, that has not been consistently demonstrated by you, to wit,

          … it is clear you agree with anyone who agrees with you…

           

        2. David Greenwald

          But I wouldn’t put it as you did:  “The Enterprise endorsed Dean.  I agree with the Enterprise.”  I usually disagree with the Enterprise endorsements, so it would have been a surprise if they had endorsed Johansson.  They made it worse with a bad write up, but I’ll get into that in tomorrow’s commentary.

        3. Keith O

          What are you even talking about?  If the Enterprise had endorsed Johannson you would’ve totally agreed with the Enterprise.  Sounds like you and Howard are disagreeing just for the sake of arguing.

    1. Tia Will

      Keith,

      Please explain to me how letting a known methamphetamine dealer walk free in our community “keeps our streets safe”. How taking children from their parents “keeps our streets safe”. How third striking a cheese thief “keeps our streets safe”. How entrapping a legal marijuana dealer through a prolonged barrage of requests and lies “keeps our streets safe”. I am genuinely curious how you justify this.

      We all want safe communities. It is my belief that Jeff Reisig is actually accomplishing the opposite through a distorted sense of priorities which allows the dangerous to continue operating whereas the relatively harmless are harassed and jailed.

      1. Howard P

        Expect no response from the one it was addressed to… interesting, tho’ to watch how those with strong, opposite  views “fence’… moves the football, not.

    2. Alan Miller

      the law and order candidate.

      Let’s keep our streets safe.

      Wow, sounds like the same line from 1000 elections around the country from the “how to win in a conservative district” playbook.  I’ll bet if the comments software had an American Flag icon, you would have added it to the above phrases.

      1. Keith O

        Where can I find that flag software?

        That said, I have no doubt that Reisig will keep us safer than Johannson.

        IMO Johannson seems more concerned with criminal rights than those of the victims.

  3. Tia Will

    Howard

    I agree that I will get no substantive response from the named source. But occasionally I will get a reasoned response from different sources who are willing to say more than “hurray for our side”.

    My question is open for anyone who would like to respond.

  4. Jeff M

    Why are we surprised that an activist attorney supporting sanctuary practices for illegal immigrants would be against a strong law and order DA?

    There is nothing here worth considering unless your interest is supporting more sanctuary state, county and city practices.

    The goal here is for the activists to infiltrate the DA office.  Johansson is their man.

    1. Tia Will

      Jeff

      Please feel free to weight in on the questions I posed earlier.

      Please explain to me how letting a known methamphetamine dealer walk free in our community “keeps our streets safe”. How taking children from their parents “keeps our streets safe”. How third striking a cheese thief “keeps our streets safe”. How entrapping a legal marijuana dealer through a prolonged barrage of requests and lies “keeps our streets safe”. I am genuinely curious how you justify this.

        1. Jeff M

          You know, I wish I could respect your opinion on this and other crime cases but since someone I know very well participated on this jury, I have the justified opinion that sometimes you have your head so far up your a_ _ seemingly in love with the minority criminal element that you cannot even think straight.

          Gonzalez held the victim so his buddy could make sure the knife when in real deep… and basically severed the victims spinal cord.

          The shame is that Gonzales did not get the death penalty.

          1. David Greenwald

            Maybe you can explain how Gonzales held the victim while his buddy stabbed him and got no blood or DNA on him in the process.

        2. David Greenwald

          I know that someone as she published a letter.  But I really wonder what that jury was thinking the evidence was against Justin because even the judge after the fact didn’t find the witnesses very credible.

        3. Jeff M

          You are asking question that the jury had to deal with and I believe there were sufficient answers.  The evidence was presented and the jury deliberated in a way that I can assure, from what I heard, was top-notch… with a jury foreman that is a professional facilitator and helped to make sure that they covered every piece of evidence and all jurors participated and had a chance to ask all the questions they needed to ask.  That jury was completely professional and thorough and did not take lightly that they would be sending that young man to prison for life.  That decision affected the jury members.  They cried.  But they did what was right and just.

          You seem to want to set some lower morality bar for minority criminals.  If Justin Gonzales had been a white gang member, I think you might be on the side of support for this level of punishment.

          Frankly, I don’t care.  I think those that belong to gangs where murder is an acceptable and expected act, and that participate in that act even as an accomplice, have blown past my consideration that they might have just made a mistake in judgement and should be given more chances.  Funny how we have zero tolerance for bullies that say hurtful words, but would be compelled to open our hearts for someone that participated in the brutal murder of a gentle young man because that young man was in the wrong place and the wrong time.   When did membership in gangs that murder become a social justice recognized cry for help?  That is messed up IMO.

          1. David Greenwald

            Unless I can actually talk to said person, there’s no point to this. I watched the proceedings and have gone through the case. There is no physical evidence. The key witness that saw this changed her story four times, and even when she testified to this at trial, she was doing so with a promise of having a life in prison charge go away and she kept claiming memory blocks when asked for details. The judge said during post-trial motions, “she was not credible.” Well if she wasn’t credible, what evidence was there that Justin was present when the murder happened? And if he held the victim down while the other guy stabbed him, why no blood or DNA on his clothes (that’s a fact btw). You answered in the generality very specific points. I’m sorry but I believe the person you know, sent an innocent man away for life

  5. Tia Will

    Jeff

    No. I am asking you for your take on different cases, not a repeat of one on which we would likely agree with the outcome. Why so reluctant to admit that Jeff Reisig was exclusively responsible for letting the known methamphetamine dealer Frank Rees remain in the community, or wanted a third strike incarceration for a cheese thief ( enormous waste of tax payer money), or harassed and entrapped an otherwise legal marijuana provider, also an enormous waste of money and man power available for dangerous criminals? These were all Reisig priorities and I am eager to hear how they make our communities safer.

    You state you support Jeff Reisig, but like Reisig, are unwilling to have an honest conversation about the means to best achieve safe communities which we all want.

    1. Jeff M

      Tia – You are in a weird brain cycle of seeking to satiate your confirmation bias having dug up three cases which in aggregate are not only a significantly deficiency in backing your claim, but they are individually disconnected from the question about Riesig’s performance keeping the people of Yolo County safe.

      Should I seek out three cases in your medical career where you made a judgement that turned out to be sub-optimized and then use them to back a claim that you are a bad doctor and not capable of keeping your patients safe, or should I look at your entire body of work and consider all the times you got it right?

      1. Howard P

        Looking at all the crimes committed and prosecuted, during Reisig’s tenure, how can you say

        Riesig’s performance keeping the people of Yolo County safe.

        Very weird…

        No one can keep the ‘people of Yolo County safe’… neither the incumbent, nor the challenger.  They (the people) haven’t been “safe”, even now.

        Anyone who believes differently is a liar and/or a fool (IMHO and experience)… most crimes, even the worst, are “first time” crimes… even if not the first, earlier ones were never adjudicated, or minor, if they occurred…

        This discussion is bizarre… “safety” is both subjective, and an illusion….

  6. Jeff M

    I have a special place in my heart for attorney activists… well not really my heart, but you get my point I am sure.

     

    Think about it this way, Ms. Block benefits in billable hours when there are more illegal immigrants and a DA that will be willing to fill the courts will all of their claims.

    1. David Greenwald

      First of all, I wouldn’t make assumptions about what Ann Block benefits from.  I get the sense a lot of her work is pro bono.  You can ask her though.

      Second, to the extent she might benefit, it would be from aggressive DA’s forcing more people to hire immigration attorneys.  And yet, what we see is probably her not acting in that manner.

      Again, I don’t sense there is a lot of money at stake here, but if there were it would be in the opposite direction you are arguing.

      1. Jeff M

        She is arguing against Riesig for a refusal to open cases or to make statements that “help” illegal immigrants thereby helping Ms. Block.

        Just follow the money.   Sure there might not be millions at stake given Ms. Block’s chosen legal practice, but then money is all relative to what someone wants.

        1. David Greenwald

          Let’s take a look…

          * Refused to assistent immigrant victims of crime
          * Refused to certify cooperation for victims of crime
          * Immigration status as a plea bargaining tool
          * Immigrants accept harsher punishments in exchange for not being deported
          * Nan Hui case
          * local attorney fear retaliation when they speak up

          So which of these are you saying are driven by monetary considerations?

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