Dateline: North Charleston, South Carolina. City Prosecutor Dale DuTremble is deciding whether or not to prosecute an assault by one woman upon another. He elects not to do so. Usually such decisions pass unremarked, and indeed one might never receive word that the decision was officially made, let alone receive an explanation. But Dale DuTremble saw fit to give an explanation to the suspect and complainant.
In a letter addressed "Dear Ladies," DuTremble explains his thinking, which aside from credibility and witness problems, included this gem:
I also have learned that neither of you have a green card and are in this country illegally. I further have been advised that it will cost the City of North Charleston a great deal of money to hire an interpreter whose qualifications meet the requirements of both sides in this dispute. I have no intention of asking the City of North Charleston to spend any money at all for two grown women who, despite being in this country illegally, cannot observe the basic courtesy expected of both citizens and guests of this country. This includes the courtesy of obeying the law. I have decided to refer both of your names to ICE; more specifically, to the office of Detention and Removal, in Atlanta, Georgia, with a request that they begin deportation proceedings immediately. Once deported to your country, you will be free to fight with each other on a daily basis, and since you both speak Spanish, you will be right at home in the court system of your native land.
Now, there are legal and policy arguments on both sides of the question of whether law enforcement should refer witnesses and victims it immigration it it appears they are here illegally. But I don't believe I've ever heard anyone advocate a prosecutor not only using illegality as a grounds for declination but threatening the complaining witness with deportation in the declination letter. DuTremble's letter is the sort of thing I'd expect from a talk radio host, not a public servant. Snide, belittling, and threatening, it suggests that people who speak English shouldn't expect equal protection in North Charleston because it would be too expensive to hire an interpreter, and further suggests an unbecoming hostility by DuTremble towards illegal aliens. Illegal aliens also commit crimes, witness them, and are victims of them, and for the City Prosecutor to suggest that their status makes them unworthy of equal treatment in such cases is entirely contemptible. At best, Dale DuTremble is a dick; at worst, he's a proud bigot with prosecutorial discretion.
Regrettably, I suspect that many of his constituents would eat this up — as would constituents all across the country.
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