Since when are illegal aliens, who are lawbreakers, entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens?
An illegal alien, driving without a license, crashes into a car driven by a county judge in suburban Philadelphia.
The illegal alien hires a lawyer who proceeds to drag things out by asking that the case be heard by a judge from outside Montgomery County, where the crash took place.
The illegal alien wants bail set so he doesn't have to sit in jail awaiting trial. The illegal alien wants to go back to work, his lawyer says. Work? Don't you have to be legally in this country to work?
What's wrong with this picture? Am I living in some bizarro world where lawbreakers are allowed to manipulate our criminal justice system? The U.S. Constitution protects the rights of citizens, not lawbreakers who sneak across our borders.
Why should somebody who enters this country illegally, takes a job illegally and drives on our roads without a license be afforded the same rights as a U.S. citizen?
The case involving the judge was reported by Carl Hessler Jr., who covers the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown for The Mercury.
Rigobert Garcia-Ortega, 23, is charged in connection with a two-vehicle crash that injured a Montgomery County judge on Dec. 17, 2006. Garcia-Ortega, through his lawyer, doesn't want any Montgomery County judge to preside over his case.
Garcia-Ortega's lawyer filed court papers this week asking all the county's judges to recuse themselves from hearing the matter in order to avoid the "appearance of impropriety."
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Thomas P. Rogers was injured in the accident when his vehicle was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by Garcia-Ortega.
Rogers, 55, was flown to an area hospital for treatment. Garcia-Ortega and three passengers in the pickup truck he was driving were not injured. (We're not sure if the three passengers were illegal aliens either).
The only reason this case is getting so much notoriety is because the illegal alien crashed into a judge. How many other accidents are caused by illegals driving without a license? We had a case in Virginia recently where an illegal alien, driving drunk, killed two young people. It's happening everywhere in this country, where an estimated 12 million to 14 million illegals are hiding.
While Rogers' colleagues on the bench could preside over Garcia-Ortega's case in an unbiased manner, "it is a fact that the involvement of Judge Rogers creates an appearance of impropriety and would tend to undermine public confidence in the judiciary," according to court papers filed by Garcia-Ortega's lawyer.
If defense lawyer Patrick J. McMenamin Jr. gets his way, Montgomery County taxpayers will have to pick up the tab of bringing a judge from outside the county to hear the case.
The request for a recusal put a halt Monday to a scheduled hearing where prosecutor Wallis Brooks planned to argue that Garcia-Ortega's bail be revoked, according to Hessler's story.
Garcia-Ortega is free on $25,000 unsecured bail while awaiting court action on charges of accidents involving personal injury while not properly licensed and several summary traffic violations in connection with the crash.
In court papers, Brooks claimed Garcia-Ortega told detectives investigating the crash that he has been in the United States two years and that he is an illegal immigrant. Authorities alleged Garcia-Ortega did not have a driver's license in the U.S.
"The defendant is a flight risk since he is facing a felony charge, likely incarceration, has not been in the community for a long period of time and is here illegally," Brooks argued in court papers, according to Hessler's story. "He has broken the law and he does not have deep roots in the community," Brooks added.
But McMenamin, in court papers, asked a judge to deny Brooks' bail revocation request. He argued that Garcia-Ortega is not a flight risk, Hessler reported.
Is McMenamin serious? An illegal alien who is about to stand trial for causing a crash that injured a judge isn't a flight risk?
Even if the lawyer manages to get Garcia-Ortega cleared of the traffic violations, don't you think somebody from the Immigration Service will be waiting for Mr. Garcia-Ortega as soon as he leaves the courthouse to discuss his non-citizenship status?
McMenamin claimed Garcia-Ortega has resided at the same address since he illegally entered the U.S. and that he lives and works with cousins. McMenamin further claimed Garcia-Ortega has a stable job and that his employer will insure that Garcia-Ortega appears for all court proceedings.
What am I missing here? Garcia-Ortega is in this country illegally. He broke the law the moment he set foot inside our borders. He shouldn't get to pick which judge hears his case. He doesn't deserve bail. He shouldn't be allowed to manipulate the U.S. court system to his advantage.
Garcia-Ortega is entitled to a one-way trip back to Guatemala.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas