What should President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry ask of the Mexican government? Accelerate, really accelerate the judicial process (akin to our Constitution right to a speedy trial.) Don’t make this marine languish in prison — give him due process…and now. This marine did two tours in Afghanistan for us (even got struck by an IED and suffers from PTSD) — so it is our turn to help him.
Secretary Kerry, on his trip to Mexico, should ask the Mexican authorities to accelerate the judicial process for our US Marine. I know we all want the Marine home today – I sat outside that Mexican prison for 2 full days and I want him home – but I also understand that we can’t simply order another country to release our marine. There is an easy solution to this. We just have to do it and get it done.
What we can do, and what is minimally reasonable under these circumstances, is use our political and diplomatic muscle (and yes that can include some economic warnings) and demand an accelerated judicial process, meaning that a judge or prosecutor review his case fully right now, not later. A fair and complete review of the facts of this marine’s case will lead one to the obvious conclusion: he accidentally drove into Mexico. He never intended to bring weapons unlawfully into Mexico.
Our marine has been in the Mexican prison system since March 31. The Mexican judicial process is piecemeal and can drag on and on and on – from months to even years. It is different from our system of justice and often poisoned by bribes and corruption. In the meantime, as the Mexican justice system plays out endlessly, our marine sits in the prison.
If the marine were in the American judicial system, he would have been released on bail (8th Amendment / Constitutional right to bail) and the minute a fair prosecutor reviewed his case, the case would be dismissed. The case is not close – the facts are simple. Just listening to the 9-1-1 call placed by the marine at the Mexican checkpoint at the time is itself convincing that there was no intent to bring weapons unlawfully into Mexico.
And if an American prosecutor for some unusual or even vindictive reason thought the matter should proceed to trial, I am as certain as you can get with predicting trial results, that this marine would be found not guilty, not guilty of intending to bring weapons into Mexico unlawfully.
I drove the route — I saw what happened. I know how easy it is to accidentally drive into Mexico. When I first read about the marine’s arrest and detention, I thought it absurd to think someone could accidentally drive into Mexico but now, having seen it with my own eyes, having actually retraced the steps and hisdrive, I understand what happened. Once that wrong turn is accidentally made, you are in Mexico with no options to turn around. You are at the Mexican checkpoint. (See video re-enactments on GretaWire.)
Let me repeat: I walked the area where he entered Mexico, I retraced his drive, I looked carefully at the area, the turn, and the design of that entrance ramp, I listened to that 9-1-1 call and I was a criminal defense lawyer for more than 12 years. Trust me….
PS It is very significant that this marine was not charged with smuggling weapons — that shows that even the Mexican authorities did not suspect anything more than just having them. The only question is whether the marine intended to be in Mexico.