Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"If American goes to World War III, I'll be in the front line. This is a great country."

That was Navy officer Elisha Leo Dawkins today after accepting pretrial diversion before Judge Altonaga. Gotta love that quote. Can't imagine a jury would convict a guy like that, but it's almost impossible to turn down diversion. From the Miami Herald:

In a surprise, his court-appointed lawyer Clark Mervis notified Judge Cecilia Altonaga that they had accepted the offer late Monday. Details were still secret Tuesday but his attorney said it did not address the issue of Dawkins’ citizenship. Separately, the U.S. immigration agency has agreed not to detain him on a 1992 removal order.

Experts have said such pre-trial probation packages typically involve rehabilitation, pledges to stay out of trouble and to undertake community service.

Altonaga agreed to abort the trial and send him to the program, provided Dawkins pay $1,600 in jury fees -- $40 to each citizen in a pool of 40 jury candidates assembled Tuesday morning, plus parking and transportation fees.

The debt became part of his probationary agreement.

In court, prosecutor Michael O’Leary said the sailor had a change of heart after hearing the case laid out in trial preparation on Monday. Federal prosecutors had made the offer, said O’Leary, because “his military service did mitigate” any alleged crime.

Outside court, Dawkins declined on the lawyer’s advice to explain if he still believed he was a U.S. citizen.

He declared that “the next project here” is sorting out “that situation” -- but said his experience persuaded him of the need to pass The Dream Act. It lets the children of foreigners who serve in the U.S. military attain American citizenship.

The case of the man who says he grew up believing he was American, that’s why he enlisted, energized pockets of Miami and the military.


Kissimmee Kid said...

Navy Petty Officer. You silk-stocking types need to be more formal. Is a judge a magistrate? I think they might take offense.

Anonymous said...

Actually, David strikes me more as an argyle man.