NY judge: Feds Can’t Use Immigration Law to Lock Up Suspect Freed on Bail

New York — A federal judge has blasted law enforcement for using immigration law to keep an accused money launderer detained after he posted a large amount of bail.

Chief Judge Dora Irizarry, of the Eastern District of New York, ordered the criminal indictment dismissed or the defendant released by today.

Irizarry said federal authorities were mixing and matching criminal and immigration laws like a “take-out food menu” to justify keeping the dual Spanish/Panamanian citizen locked up after consenting to his release on bail.

Salomon Benzadon Boutin had apparently overstayed his visa when he was arrested in October 2017 and charged with attempted money laundering from his Brooklyn restaurant, the New York Law Journal reported.

Boutin was supposed to be released on bail after members of his synagogue posted $100,000 bond, according to the judge’s summary. He was ordered into home confinement with location monitoring.

But before he could be released, Boutin was immediately taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings.

Boutin’s first deportation hearing was then moved up a week for unknown reasons. It wasn’t clear that Boutin had even gotten notice of the hearing before it was held, the judge wrote.

When Boutin didn’t show, he was ordered removed by an immigration judge. His family said they were still trying to hire him a lawyer.

Irizarry accused federal authorities of “trying to have it both ways” by going after Boutin with criminal and immigration charges at the same time. She noted that he could have been removed from the country before his criminal case was resolved.

Federal authorities acknowledged that holding someone for an immigration violation could not be used to keep someone from being released on bail. But the government argued that there were simply two different proceedings — criminal and immigration — going on at the same time.

The judge rejected that argument.

By Douglass Dowty for SYRACUSE.COM
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