Pondering a Sexual Predator's Case

By W.D. Reasoner on March 26, 2012

On Wednesday, the Daily Caller published the story of an accused child molester, one Amado Espinoza-Ramirez, who was arrested by Chicago police last August and charged with 42 counts of predatory sexual acts. He was booked into the Cook County Jail, which is operated under the auspices of the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Because the suspect was an alien, the bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed a detainer against him once they became aware of the arrest.

Now here's where the story gets interesting: As regular readers of items published by this Center are almost certainly aware (as the majority of citizens living in Cook County, Ill., also must be), there has been a public and vituperative spat between ICE and the Cook County Council and Sheriff. The disagreement has centered around the county's refusal to honor ICE detainers filed against aliens who have been arrested, charged with crimes, and booked into the jail and has led ICE Director John Morton to write county officials cautioning them against a policy of releasing alien criminals, arguing (fairly, in my opinion) that doing so puts the citizens of the county at risk.

Notwithstanding that longstanding disagreement — and the existence of a county ordinance forbidding the Sheriff's Office from honoring ICE detainers — it appears that in this case, they did in fact notify ICE when bond was posted on Espinoza's behalf the very next day. What did ICE do? Well, they released him ... based on policies issued under Mr. Morton's stewardship directing field officers to consider factors such as whether or not arrestees are parents of United States citizens when determining if they should be held in custody. Espinoza promptly fled.

Apparently it doesn't matter much that the arrestee may or may not be a responsible parent or, as in this case, probably even a clear and present danger to the child: keep in mind that the man is an alleged pedophile who incestuously preyed upon a relative. Because ICE has stayed mum on this salient point, we don't know if the victim was self-same U.S. citizen child that ICE considered a mitigating factor resulting in his release.

It is absolutely amazing to me how frequently and unerringly ICE, under its current leadership, has managed to shoot itself in its own foot. While I make no excuses on behalf of field officers who follow instructions by rote instead of using a modicum of good judgment, I also understand their deep reticence at standing, or even appearing to stand, in contravention of what they clearly understand to be their headquarters' present liberal stance where issues of detention are concerned. Mr. Morton has only himself to blame for policies designed to hamper effective immigration enforcement, and for political correctness run amok.

And the Cook County Sheriff's Office? According to the Daily Caller article, Frank Bilecki, spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart, responded to the reporter's inquiries with, "Anxiously awaiting your story." The remark would be beyond callous even if the Sheriff's Office's collective hands were clean, but they're not. Cook County officials have so flagrantly and routinely ignored ICE detainers that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was prompted to write to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last November expressing his outrage that over 100 alien criminals had been released by the Sheriff's Office despite the filing of ICE detainers. I'm sure that figure is substantially higher by now.

So my advice to Mr. Bilecki is simple: Be wary about giving voice to your smug, ignoble sentiments because they may come back to haunt you. Each and every one of those alien felons whom your office has released to the streets is out there now, like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off in your own backyard.