More on the courts’ refusal to enforce Prop. 100

Saw this in Saturday’s paper, it’s the county attorney’s response to an op-ed by presiding Superior Court judge Barbara Mundell where she tried to camouflage the fact that she’s stopped the courts from enforcing Prop. 100.

Courts are dodging Prop. 100
Jun. 9, 2007

In a recent “My Turn” column, Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell claims that the judiciary is enforcing Proposition 100, the voter-approved measure that prohibits bail for illegal immigrants accused of serious felonies. Unfortunately, a review of 185 bail hearings has revealed that the court under her leadership has only held 14.5 percent of illegal immigrants without bond.

Republic columnist Laurie Roberts recently cited several cases in which evidence of illegal-immigration status was ignored by the court (“Courts setting bond for those here illegally,” May 30). In three cases, suspects were given bond after confessing to their illegal status. In a fourth, the suspect had deportation papers in his pockets. When an illegal immigrant confesses to being in our country illegally, how does that not meet the standard of proof necessary for a judge to make a ruling implementing Proposition 100? If a confession isn’t sufficient, what is?

The cases detailed by Roberts were troubling enough, but they become downright disturbing in light of the court’s recent history. Whether it’s race-based courts that confer lighter sentences on Spanish-speaking suspects, e-mails from high-ranking court staff discouraging court personnel from inquiring as to the immigration status of illegal immigrants, or simply ignoring the plain confessions of suspects, there is an ever-growing list of instances in which the court has demonstrated a disregard for the will of the people.

Judge Mundell states that our office should take our complaints about non-enforcement of Proposition 100 to the Legislature and higher courts. We are. But we shouldn’t have to. The Superior Court should fully comply with Proposition 100 without constant prodding and oversight from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Laurie Roberts and the public.

Lastly, in claiming that the court was committed to protecting defendants’ rights, it is a pity that the rights of victims don’t even merit mention by the county’s presiding judge. Who has a greater claim to “rights” – illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes, or law-abiding citizens? – Barnett Lotstein,Phoenix

The writer is a special assistant Maricopa County attorney.


  1. Who was the writer?

    Andy Thomas is an excellent county attorney. Mundell needs to quit legislating from the bench and start enforcing the law.

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