Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

102 Days and Counting in Mexican Jail for US Marine Reservist After Court Hearing

Posted by on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:10 AM
  • 109 Replies

 

102 Days and Counting in Mexican Jail for US Marine Reservist After Court Hearing

Jul 10, 2014, 9:09 AM ET
By ABC NEWS via Good Morning America
 
 
Share on email
 
PHOTO: Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at Tijuanas La Mesa Penitentiary, May 3, 2014.
 
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at Tijuana's La Mesa Penitentiary, May 3, 2014.
U-T San Diego/ZUMAPRESS.com
Share
<br/><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/">ABC News</a> | <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/sports">ABC Sports News</a> Copy

U.S. Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is back in a Mexican jail this morning, ordered by a judge to remain in custody on gun charges near Tijuana, where he's been locked up for 102 days.

A closed evidentiary hearing that lasted more than eight hours on Thursday was Tahmooressi's first chance to plead his case in court.

The California native, 25, was arrested on March 31, after he says he got lost and crossed the Mexican border with three firearms in his pickup truck. Tahmooressi served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

The possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the Army is a federal crime in Mexico regardless of whether visitors declare it or not upon entering the country.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office defended its decision to prosecute Tahmooressi in a statement released last month.

"In Mexico, like in the United States, ignorance of the law, error, misperceptions or misunderstandings about the consequences of violating a law, are not exemptions from responsibility," prosecutors said in the statement.

Though cameras weren't allowed in court, Tahmooressi's mother Jill says she was able to spend 20 minutes with her son after the hearing.

"He's very strong. He's very strong and positive. And he's confident," she said.

The State Department is actively engaged in the case. Consular officers have visited Tahmooressi 13 times, and 71 members of Congress have signed a bi-partisan letter asking the judge for leniency.

Unlike American law, in Mexico one is guilty until proven innocent and the decision rests solely in the judge's hands.

But Fernando Benetiz, Tahmooressi's newly-hired attorney, is hopeful.

"We feel the hearing was a success, and we feel we are finally on the right track," Benetiz said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

by on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Della529
by Matlock on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Interesting last name.
VooDooB
by weird cheese on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I believe it's German for a whales vagina.

Quoting Della529: Interesting last name.


Della529
by Matlock on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Sounds Persian to me.

Quoting VooDooB:

I believe it's German for a whales vagina.

Quoting Della529: Interesting last name.

numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM
4 moms liked this

He needs to be released!

gdiamante
by Silver Member on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:27 AM

More from KGTV Stan Diego:

SAN DIEGO - A Mexican judge refused to dismiss weapons charges against Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and ordered him back to jail Wednesday evening.

During a lengthy evidentiary hearing in Tijuana, Tahmooressi was able to tell his story to a judge.

Before the hearing, Tahmooressi's mother, Jill, made one brief statement, declaring her faith in the new lawyer, Fernando Benitez.

"I'm confident with Mr. Benitez and his ability to defend Andrew appropriately," she said.

Three months ago, Tahmooressi drove his pickup truck across the border and was arrested. He had three guns and a cache of ammunition in the truck. It is illegal to carry weapons into Mexico. 

Tahmooressi said he did not mean to and that he had become confused and was trying to turn around.

A U.S. Marine who had been decorated for two tours in Afghanistan, Tahmooressi had just come to San Diego to seek treatment for PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – and was living out of that truck.

He spent the past 100 days in a jail cell as various lawmakers have tried to intervene diplomatically, thus far unsuccessfully.

A letter was just sent to the judge by San Diego Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska. It was co-signed by 74 members of Congress.

The text of the letter follows below:

The Honorable Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo
Juez Sexto de Distrito de Procedimientos Penales Federales XV Circuito
Ave Paseo De Los Heroes #10540 6TO. Piso, Zona Rio
Tijuana, Baja California 22010

Dear Judge Escobedo:

We appreciate your careful consideration of the Andrew Tahmooressi case. As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we stand behind Andrew and believe the specific circumstances of this case require Andrew to be returned to the U.S. immediately.

We believe the evidence supports Andrew’s claim that he mistakenly entered into Mexico. One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is a 911 call Andrew made at the border checkpoint, where he stated that he was unaware of his location. It’s also important to take into account that Andrew was new to the San Diego area, without permanent housing, and had many of his possessions in his car. Like many of those new to the area, he was unfamiliar with the often confusing roads along the border and was unable to turn around before entering Mexico.

Andrew’s character and service should also be taken into account. Andrew is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served his country honorably, enduring two combat tours in Afghanistan, and earning a promotion to Sergeant on the battlefield—a high honor for any service member. Further, he saved lives on the battlefield in several instances, showing both courage and commitment to his fellow Marines. Andrew suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his time in combat and moved to the San Diego area to seek treatment. Regrettably, his incarceration prevents him from getting the treatment that he deserves. The Marine Corps has stood by Andrew, and has pledged its assistance to resolve this case.

As this case moves forward, we urge you to consider the specific circumstances of this case, and hope that you will arrive at the same conclusion we have—that Andrew should be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

Duncan Hunter, Member of Congress

Lee Terry, Member of Congress

Tahmooressi's attorney said that he was not surprised by Wednesday's outcome, and says things are still on the right track. He will be back in court for another evidentiary hearing in August.

gdiamante
by Silver Member on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:28 AM

And from KFMB:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A Marine veteran who was arrested on weapons charges in Mexico was ordered to remain in custody after a hearing in Tijuana Wednesday that last nearly nine hours.

CBS News 8 has learned that along with Tahmooressi himself, two Mexican border agent who detained the 26-year-old at the border testified at the hearing, which lasted well into Wednesday evening.

Andrew Tahmooressi was arrested in late March after driving into Mexico with three legally registered firearms and several rounds of ammunition in his truck. He maintains he took a wrong turn on the California side of the border into Tijuana, Mexico. He was detained by Mexican border officials for having a .45 caliber pistol, 12-gauge pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.

Reporters were not allowed inside the courtroom Wednesday, but his mother Jill was seen walking into the courthouse.

Afterward, Jill Tahoe told reporters that the judge allowed her to talk with her son for twenty minutes, and that he is "strong and confident."

In the meantime, Tahmooressi's new attorney said after the hearing that he plans to focus on "multiple irregularities" that he claims occurred when his client was detained at the Mexican border, before he was officially arrested. He also said he is confident Andrew will ultimately be freed.

The Marine Corps reservist faced severe abuse and death threats in a La Mesa prison and attempted suicide after he suffered from PTSD. He says he made an innocent mistake.

"I feel like the punishment was never necessary from the beginning. I made it very obvious that it was a mistake for me to be here,” said Tahmooressi. “They even told me that they were going to escort me back to America, but once the [Mexican] military people got involved, they were like, 'Look what we found, we found these guns, good for us. Let's get this guy incriminated.' I don't think I deserve any punishment and I definitely don't deserve any more punishment. I deserve to be set free because I'm not a criminal."

Several members of Congress agree, sending a letter to the judge saying they stand behind Tahmooressi. Among those who signed the letter was Duncan Hunter, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas.

Tahmooressi is now being held in El Hongo Prison near Tecate with a 24-hour prison guard.

If convicted, he faces up to 21 years in prison. Tahmooressi’s next court hearing is scheduled for August 4.

Della529
by Matlock on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:36 AM
I read something about the area where he drove across the border; something about him going through the nothing to declare lane and having the option to be in the lane which would have turned him back to the U.S.

I'll see if I can find it again.

This puzzles me as I know absolutely nothing about this crossing.


Quoting gdiamante:

More from KGTV Stan Diego:






SAN DIEGO - A Mexican judge refused to dismiss
weapons charges against Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and ordered him
back to jail Wednesday evening.

During a lengthy evidentiary hearing in Tijuana, Tahmooressi was able to tell his story to a judge.

Before
the hearing, Tahmooressi's mother, Jill, made one brief statement,
declaring her faith in the new lawyer, Fernando Benitez.

"I'm confident with Mr. Benitez and his ability to defend Andrew appropriately," she said.

Three
months ago, Tahmooressi drove his pickup truck across the border and
was arrested. He had three guns and a cache of ammunition in the truck.
It is illegal to carry weapons into Mexico. 

Tahmooressi said he did not mean to and that he had become confused and was trying to turn around.

A
U.S. Marine who had been decorated for two tours in Afghanistan,
Tahmooressi had just come to San Diego to seek treatment for PTSD –
post-traumatic stress disorder – and was living out of that truck.

He spent the past 100 days in a jail cell as various lawmakers have tried to intervene diplomatically, thus far unsuccessfully.

A
letter was just sent to the judge by San Diego Rep. Duncan Hunter and
Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska. It was co-signed by 74 members of Congress.

The text of the letter follows below:



The Honorable Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo

Juez Sexto de Distrito de Procedimientos Penales Federales XV Circuito

Ave Paseo De Los Heroes #10540 6TO. Piso, Zona Rio

Tijuana, Baja California 22010

Dear Judge Escobedo:

We
appreciate your careful consideration of the Andrew Tahmooressi case.
As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we stand behind Andrew
and believe the specific circumstances of this case require Andrew to be
returned to the U.S. immediately.

We believe the
evidence supports Andrew’s claim that he mistakenly entered into Mexico.
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence is a 911 call Andrew made
at the border checkpoint, where he stated that he was unaware of his
location. It’s also important to take into account that Andrew was new
to the San Diego area, without permanent housing, and had many of his
possessions in his car. Like many of those new to the area, he was
unfamiliar with the often confusing roads along the border and was
unable to turn around before entering Mexico.

Andrew’s
character and service should also be taken into account. Andrew is a
U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served his country honorably, enduring two
combat tours in Afghanistan, and earning a promotion to Sergeant on the
battlefield—a high honor for any service member. Further, he saved
lives on the battlefield in several instances, showing both courage and
commitment to his fellow Marines. Andrew suffers from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder as a result of his time in combat and moved to the San
Diego area to seek treatment. Regrettably, his incarceration prevents
him from getting the treatment that he deserves. The Marine Corps has
stood by Andrew, and has pledged its assistance to resolve this case.

As
this case moves forward, we urge you to consider the specific
circumstances of this case, and hope that you will arrive at the same
conclusion we have—that Andrew should be reunited with his family as
soon as possible.

Duncan Hunter, Member of Congress

Lee Terry, Member of Congress


Tahmooressi's attorney said that he was not surprised by Wednesday's
outcome, and says things are still on the right track. He will be back
in court for another evidentiary hearing in August.


RandRMomma
by Maya on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:56 AM
3 moms liked this
Why?

He did something illegal. When you break the law, you're punished for it.


Quoting numbr1wmn:

He needs to be released!

RandRMomma
by Maya on Jul. 10, 2014 at 10:57 AM
He did something illegally, and is trying to play dumb. I don't feel bad for him at all.
snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jul. 10, 2014 at 11:03 AM

He is getting a fair trial under Mexico's legal system.  That's how it works

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)