This case represents the poster child for Prop. 100. A bit of background first: After Arizona's Prop. 100 was passed with overwhelmingly 78% of the vote in 2006, prohibiting bail for illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes, the Maricopa County Superior Court refused to enforce it by instructing employees not to ask illegal immigrants their immigration status. Only after prosecutors protested to the AZ Supreme Court did the Superior Court back down and start enforcing the law. But not before several judges released numerous illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes on bail.
And prior to that, judges were routinely releasing illegal immigrants on bail. Judge Daniel Martin released illegal immigrant Juan Avitia on bail in early 2005. Avitia was charged with Sexual Conduct with a Minor, a felony, for impregnating a 14-year old girl, Originally, Commissioner Donofrio had held Avitia non-bondable. But Judge Martin reversed the order and issued this statement, "The court is not prepared to find the defendant guilty of a dangerous crime against children." Avitia posted bond and was deported - he never served time for his crime.
According to the Arizona Republic, on August 16, 2009, Avitia returned to the victim's home, and hit her over the head with a gun several times, firing two shots into the mattress in the mast bedroom. He then forced the girl and his now 5-year old daughter out of the house against their will. When they were finally rescued, they were taken to a hospital where they were treated for their injuries. Avitia was booked on two felony warrants for a sexual offense and forgery. He now faces two counts each of kidnapping, aggravated assault, burglary and reckless endangerment for the incident Sunday.
This is a sad situation and would have never happened had Avila been held without bond under Prop. 100. The courts are out of control and if the prosecutors hadn't intervened, there would be a lot more victims out there than this. It's frankly time for judicial reform, time to elect judges so they are accountable to the people, not to liberals like Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell.