Thursday, October 05, 2006

Letter to Secretary Chertoff - post service on Grand Jury

To: Secretary Michael Chertoff, Department of Homeland Security
Alberto Gonzeles, US Attorney General
Charles Schumer, US Senator NY
Hillary Clinton, US Senator NY
Sue Kelly, US Congressman NY

cc: Grand Jury Coordinator, US Court Southern District of New York
Foreperson of Grand Jury (September 2006)

October 4, 2006

Dear All:

My name is Jack Lee, a private citizen and a resident of Westchester county NY. Recently, I was selected to serve on a grand jury in the Southern District of NY. It was an eye opening experience for me and educational as well. I learned quite a bit about our current legal system and some of its problems. After discussion with the Grand Jury Coordinator, she suggested I make my views known in the form of this letter. My hope is that by bring attention to this problem, you folks, who are in a position of power, can find a solution either with new legislation or revised policy or both.

The problem I am referring to relates to illegal immigrants and more specific to criminal activities committed by illegal immigrants. In the course of a month, my first hand knowledge obtained in the grand jury room exposes a serious flaw in our current legal system. Let me first acknowledge the excellent and hard work of all involved in trying to bring justice and punishment to those involved. However, they are merely part of a larger system that has been broken for quite a while.

As you are well aware, our country is currently debating the larger question of illegal immigration and how to reform a system that is out of control. This is a complex issue and it involves many factors including economic and social. However, the specific area I’m addressing in this letter pertains to the criminal and legal implications.

The problem in a nutshell is that a disproportionate number of illegal aliens are committing crimes and are clogging our criminal justice system. Let me describe a typical case. An alien from the Dominican Republic is arrested in the US for a felony selling illegal drugs. He is arrested, convicted and went to jail for a few years. He is then deported to the DR. After a few years, he is re-arrested for another crime usually under an alias. This time, he is convicted and sent to prison for a longer term. Years later, under a special fugitive task force by the ICE, he is rounded up and charged with violation of code 1326A with illegal reentry to the US. This, we are told, includes almost 300 cases in just the NY District. Each case can span a period of 20 or more years. Do you see what I mean?

Permit me to offer a simple analogy. Suppose there is a large ship with a leaking hull. The captain of the ship decided to organize a bucket brigade to bail out the water. At first, this seems to work. However, instead of putting ashore to repair the leak, he decided it was easier to keep the brigade going. To a newcomer, this seems a strange sight. He decided to inquire what is going on. Each person on the brigade is just doing his assigned task. When asked about what is going on, they can only respond, just following orders, or it’s not my job or it’s too hard to change the system. But the common sense solution is to just patch the leak and all other problems will go away.

The resources that we are burdened to carry this out are enormous. Just from where I’m sitting, there are 23 jurors, 1 prosecuting attorney, 1 stenographer, 1 special agent to testify, 1 expert to analyze finger prints, 1 ICE staff to search database, arresting officers, judges, legal counsel, prison guards, deportation officer, other support staff and incarceration fees…
In addition, they usually have accumulated a long rap sheet with numerous victims of felonies. All this so we can treat one illegal alien with due process and humane treatment. Once deported, he has no problem finding his way back in the USA.

A wise man once told me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

All studies have shown that a large disproportionate number of crimes are committed by a small minority. By focusing our energy and resources to reducing illegal criminals from entering our country, we can do a lot to reduce both crimes and the burden on our justice system. My proposed solutions are the following:

1. We need to plug the holes both at our borders and at the airports. Use the national guards to secure our borders.
2. We need to address the legal rights of illegal aliens vs. American Citizens. We cannot continue to treat them as equals. There must be some differential between an illegal alien and a US citizen or legal resident.
3. We need to work with other countries such as the Dominican Republic to arrange that they incarcerate their own citizens even if they are caught committing crimes in the US. We can help with some financial subsidies to these countries.
4. We need to stop the current practice of “sanctuary cities” where the local police cannot inquire about the immigration status of criminals they arrest.
5. We need to enforce current and existing laws or else rescind obsolete laws.

The problem I’ve described would not be a problem if the number of violators is small. I would not write this letter if we are dealing with only a handful of cases. However, once the number is large, this becomes a serious problem that requires action.

I have tried to highlight a problem in our current justice system. My duty as a grand juror is to provide some common sense and oversight to our legal system in addition to protect the rights of the accused. My training as an engineer teaches me how to identify problems and to come up with viable solutions. I can’t help it, but my instinct is to tackle this problem the same way. I am just a private citizen, retired and enjoying my golden years. Some people are good at listening, some are good at talking and others are good at doing. Once in a while, you can find one person with all 3 qualities and hopefully that individual will be elected to high office where he or she can make a difference.
I hope all of you can follow through and bring the necessary changes to our system so that future grand jurors will not have to labor through these cases anymore.

Thank you for your attention.


Jack C. Lee
A concerned citizen and member of Grand Jury (September 2006)

Yorktown Hts. NY

PS – You are welcome to contact me by email with questions or details about my ideas.

END of letter

Oct. 20, 2006 (update)

Since I sent the letters, I've received one response from Rep. Sue Kelly.
I am posting here response letter here. Unfortunately, it does not address my specific concerns but only talk of general policies.

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Nov. 2, 2006 (update)

I received the following letter from the DHS.
Again, it did not address my specific concerns.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Blogger almknz said...

Excellent letter. But it appears the parties are united in not seeing the illogic of stirring up a hornets nest of fanatics in the mid-east and leaving them free access to the land and people they want to destroy. I mention this, as it is just another facit to the open borders that brings in low cost labor, and, drugs, crooks,third world illness's, and increased school and welfare costs. I hope one of the problems will catch the attention of someone in Washington, and your approach will be used.

8:15 AM  

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