Posted on February 23, 2011

How One Illegal Immigrant Gamed the Criminal Justice System

Daniel Leddy, Staten Island Advance, February 22, 2011

“Manhunt!” With that bold headline, the Sunday Advance reported Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s determination to capture this county’s Top 10 fugitives.

The Advance is assisting Donovan’s initiative by displaying these individuals’ faces on the newspaper’s CRIME SCENE Web page,

Two especially galling aspects underlie this story. First is the indefensible decision by a Criminal Court judge [Ferne Goldstein, a Civil Court judge] that allowed Linares Hugo Lopez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who is number one on the list, to walk away from accusations that he horribly abused his 18-month-old son.

Second is the ease with which far too many illegal immigrants avoid answering for even the most violent crimes committed by them.


[To] the consternation of outraged prosecutors, Lopez, the illegal immigrant facing a potential 25-year jail term, walked out of the courtroom on his own recognizance. Although insisting that he would appear before the grand jury the following day, he hasn’t been seen since.

Donovan [Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan] now faces the daunting task of having to deal with the consequences of Goldstein’s outrageous refusal to detain Lopez for just one more day.

What Lopez did here is similar to what countless other illegal immigrants have been able to engineer to avoid being brought to trial for violent crimes committed on American soil.

While there is a plethora of documentation readily available, consider this from the FBI: As of early 2009, 57 percent of its most-wanted murderers were born outside the United States, and the overwhelming majority of those were Mexican.

On April 23, 2005, Heather MacDonald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, decried the negative consequences to law enforcement from sanctuary policies such as those adopted by New York City.

She also noted that 95 percent of all fugitive warrants for murder in Los Angeles in the first half of 2004, were issued for illegal immigrants.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonpartisan, public interest organization, estimates that, as of 2010, illegal immigration cost American taxpayers $113 billion a year, of which limited aspects of law enforcement accounted for almost $8 billion.


[The details of the Lopez case are given in the original story.]