Skewed Justice: Baltimore Prosecutors Say Not to Charge Criminal Aliens

Why state district attorneys are going rogue and urging special treatment of illegal immigrants

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 29 Apr 2017 at 11:04 PM

The state’s attorney office in Baltimore, Maryland, issued a memo Thursday urging all prosecutors to consider possible immigration outcomes before pursuing charges against illegal aliens, according to a report on Friday from The Baltimore Sun.

The memo from Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow, which The Sun obtained, urged state prosecutors to carefully consider whether or not they should pursue charges of “minor, non-violent criminal conduct” against illegal immigrants. In addition, Schatzow warned his staff to recognize “the potential collateral consequences to certain immigrants of minor, non-violent criminal conduct” if they decide to bring charges.

“In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant.”

“In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant,” Schatzow wrote in his memo.

A spokesperson for Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) told The Sun he was displeased with Schatzow’s memo in Baltimore, saying, “A vast majority of Americans believe that illegal aliens who commit crimes while here in the U.S. should bear the full brunt of the law, and be deported.”

The Baltimore chief deputy state’s attorney is not the first prosecutor to recommend special treatment — reducing or avoiding charges — for illegal aliens so they can avoid potential deportation.

On Wednesday, Acting Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn recommended prosecutors in his department “be alert to a defendant’s possible non-citizen status,” according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“If such possibility exists, the assistant district attorney must flag that fact to defense counsel and note that immigration consequences may be an issue,” the policy added, advising prosecutors to “consider alternative offenses the defendant can plead to as well as reasonable modifications to the sentence recommendation” to “reach an immigration-neutral disposition.”

While delivering a speech Friday in Long Island, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted prosecutors who flirt with the idea of pursuing lesser charges against criminal aliens simply because of their immigration status.

"I regret to say that we've seen district attorneys openly brag about not charging cases appropriately — giving special treatment to illegal aliens to ensure these criminal aliens aren't deported from their communities," Sessions said. "They advertise that they will charge a criminal alien with a lesser offense than presumably they would charge a United States citizen. It baffles me."

"Regardless, no jurisdiction has a right to violate federal law ... as the president has made clear, our system is a system of laws, and we will be the administration that ends the rampant immigration illegality," Sessions added.

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