It is not a crime for an illegal immigrant to use fake federal documents to obtain a legitimate state license, according to a remarkable ruling issued this week by an Obama-appointed judge in south Florida. The defendant, 38-year-old Rubman Ardon Chinchilla, was among 20 people arrested several months ago in a scheme that used bogus immigration documents in driver’s license applications. The man who masterminded the operation, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Cuba, has been charged with fraud.
Chinchilla, a Honduran national, has lived illegally in the U.S. for decades, according to a local newspaper report, and has three American-born children. He works as a roofer and lives in the Broward County city of Ft. Lauderdale. After getting busted using a phony version of a federal document known as an Order of Supervision to get a Florida license, he got indicated with two counts of violating federal law. The illegal immigrant’s attorneys challenged the charges, asserting that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles doesn’t even allow driver’s license applicants to use an Order of Supervision as proof of legal status in the U.S. In their argument they cited a case in which a California appeals court threw out the conviction of a Chinese man who got two driver’s licenses while living in the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, appointed to the bench in 2014, agreed and threw out the criminal charges against Chinchilla. Siding with the illegal alien’s attorneys, Bloom proclaimed that there is no actual law allowing the federal Order of Supervision form to be used to prove “authorized stay in the United States.” The bizarre reasoning will allow others involved in the recent south Florida fake document sting to use the same argument to avoid justice. The local newspaper article cited earlier in this piece writes this: “It’s a highly technical legal argument, but it’s opening the door for the others arrested in the sting to beat their cases, and maybe even stay in the United States.” Another illegal immigrant arrested along with Chinchilla, Jeovanny Gutierrez Nuñez, is already using Judge Bloom’s decision to get his charges dropped. Federal prosecutors plan to appeal Chinchilla’s case and his lawyers claim that if Bloom’s ruling stands, it will allow the illegal alien to get legal papers because his record will remain clean and he has three U.S.-born kids.
This marks the second controversial ruling for Bloom in her short time on the federal bench. In December the judge determined that Broward County public schools and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had no legal duty to protect students during the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen people were killed and 17 others were injured at the Parkland, Florida school when a former student opened fire on the campus. A lawsuit filed by 15 students named the district and sheriff’s office among six defendants, along with school deputy Scot Peterson and a campus monitor. In the complaint, the students claimed their civil and due process rights were violated by the defendants’ failure to protect them from school shooters. Bloom ruled the school district and county law enforcement agency had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody. “The claim arises from the actions of [shooter Nikolas] Cruz, a third party, and not a state actor,” she wrote in the decision. “Thus, the critical question the Court analyzes is whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of Cruz.”
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