Monday, September 20, 2010

How is this not a bigger deal?

So, I started doing some reading to figure out what’s going on in the SDFla so that I can guest-host while D.O.M. rededicates himself to the practice of law. The news is good and bad. The good news is that the feds caught two people who really needed to be caught and who are guilty of the sort of crime that cries out for federal retribution. The bad news is that the factual proffer from Friday’s plea colloquy before Judge Marra makes me think that there may well be a deep circle in hell set aside for these defendants. Alfonso Baldonado, Jr., and Sophia Manuel admitted to extorting money from Filipino workers and luring them to Boca with false promises of lucrative employment at places like the Ritz. These victims went into substantial debt to travel here only to become an exploited cheap labor pool for the defendants’ staffing company. The two convicts confiscated the workers’ passports and terrorized them with threats of jail and deportation. Thirty workers slept side-by-side “on the kitchen, garage, and dining room floors.” They were fed “chicken feet, necks, innards, and rotten vegetables.” The litany of horribles goes on and on. Sentencing is set for December 10.

images.jpegWhat I don’t understand is how this slavery case gets all of four short paragraphs in the newspapers. Maybe part of the reason is that Willy Ferrer put out a very professional and measured quote—“They came here seeking a better life, but found their dream of freedom transformed into a real-life nightmare of servitude and fear.” If I were U.S. Attorney, I would have said something like, “These defendants deserve to be tortured gruesomely and slowly, and I am frustrated that all we can do is put them in the same prisons where we put drug dealers.” Which alone is enough to explain why I’m not U.S. Attorney.

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