Frederick Amfo, an Uber driver was recently arrested in Massachusetts and charged with the rape of a passenger. That’s not particularly shocking. Sadly, sexual assaults by cabbies and rideshare drivers have become all too common. Uber is currently facing a class action lawsuit from riders alleging that they were abused by drivers. And at least one firm has begun offering legal services specifically marketed at victims of “Uber assault.”
What’s shocking about Amfo’s case is how the courts in the Bay State disregarded his immigration status when setting his bail. Amfo is a citizen of Ghana and was unlawfully present in the United States. After being arraigned, and paying his bail, he caught the first plane back to his homeland.
How did an accused foreigner evade the bar of justice so easily? Through the unfortunate confluence of progressive policies that improperly focus on the “rights” of illegal aliens, and foreign criminals, rather than the interests of American crime victims.
In the United States, incarcerating a criminal defendant prior to conviction is unconstitutional – unless the defendant is likely to flee the jurisdiction or to pose a danger to the community. However, high bail, or no bail, is perfectly acceptable if the defendant presents a significant flight risk. And illegal aliens are, by definition, a significant flight risk.
Nevertheless, the court that arraigned Amfo seems to have ignored his immigration status, imposing only $10,000 cash bail and giving him 24 hours to surrender his passport. This type of leniency is common in Massachusetts, which is a sanctuary state in all but name.
To make matters worse, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) promptly issued a detainer asking local police to hold Amfo for arrest on deportation charges. But, the district court appears to have chosen not to forward the detainer to the Norfolk County Jail, which released Amfo once his bail was posted.
The decision not to forward ICE’s detention request to the jail was most likely based on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts’ holding in Sreyon Lunn v. Commonwealth, which found that Bay State law enforcement officers have no legal authority to hold an alien pursuant to an ICE civil detainer. Although, the court claims that it never received any detainer from ICE. But that assertion seems highly suspect, in light of the state’s sanctuary stance and repeated judicial decisions thwarting local police efforts to cooperate with immigration authorities.
Forgotten in all of the excessive concern about potential violations of “rights” that illegal aliens do not actually possess is the complainant, Ms. Emily Murray, of Weymouth, Mass. Waiving protections available under rape shield laws, and press conventions regarding the identity of sexual assault victims, Ms. Murray has publicly addressed the system’s utter failure to preserve her interests. And no rational observer can help wondering whether Amfo was attracted to Massachusetts simply because of its sanctuary policies and extreme leniency toward immigration violators.
Let’s hope the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has finally taken Ms. Murray’s interests to heart and is coordinating with the Departments of Justice and State to secure Amfo’s return to America, to stand trial. The U.S. has had an extradition treaty with Ghana since 1931. And the Law Library of Congress indicates that Ghana generally responds to extradition requests. So, it’s possible that Amfo may yet be brought to justice.