July 9, 2014

USA: Our U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi Has Been Held In A Mexican Prison Since March 31. President Obama Has Said And Done NOTHING To Help Him, Obama Even Talked To Mexican President And Didn't Mention Our Marine.

written by Greta Van Susteran
May 19, 2014

The best way to understand what happened, whether as a lawyer, investigator or reporter, is to to go the scene. That is exactly what we did over the weekend. We went to California and Mexico and retraced the steps (the drive) of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.

Sgt Tahmooressi, who did two tours in Afghanistan, had recently moved to California. One of the reasons was to get help at the VA hospital.

On the day of March 31, he drove to the border near Tijuana, parked his car (which is what everyone does to avoid the traffic at the checkpoint) and walked across the walkway into Tijuana.

Sometime later — after about 10pm when it was dark — he returned to his car to return to where he was staying in San Diego. He exited the parking lot and when he exited the lot — Mexico was on his right, and San Diego was on his left.

This is where it gets confusing and where I understand the Sargeant’s confusion. Even though San Diego was to his left, the left ramp took him directly into Mexico. This is because the ramp exits to the left but loops around.

I thought when I first saw the ramp that it led to San Diego (north) since it is on the left and not the right (which is where I would expect the ramp to be to take me further south… a few hundred yards…into Mexico.)

It is true there were 3 signs indicating Mexico — but the signs do not have lights and it was dark (and one had graffiti on it which could add to confusion.) I suspect, but do not know, that Sgt. Tahmooressi might have had a drink or two in Tijuana — but totally a guess — and that might have contributed to him missing the signs.

Adding to the problem is that IF you make the mistake of turning left and thinking you are headed back to San Diego (north) but really heading to Mexico (south), there is no u turn to correct yourself before you drive the hundred yards or so into Mexico. It puts you in an impossible position. You get steered directly in a lane with cement barriers preventing you doing anything but driving into Mexico.

Once in Mexico, and at the the Mexico checkpoint / border, Sgt. Tahmooressi says he reported to the Mexican Border Patrol that he had guns in his car. He also placed a 9-1-1 call to USA that we have played on ON THE RECORD at 7pm. He was placed under arrest and has been jailed since March 31 – first at a very dangerous prison in Mexico and now at a less dangerous one but a maximum security facility.

written by Greta Van Susteran
May 21, 2014

What should President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry ask of the Mexican government? Accelerate, really accelerate the judicial process (akin to our Constitution right to a speedy trial.) Don’t make this marine languish in prison — give him due process…and now. This marine did two tours in Afghanistan for us (even got struck by an IED and suffers from PTSD) — so it is our turn to help him.

Secretary Kerry, on his trip to Mexico, should ask the Mexican authorities to accelerate the judicial process for our US Marine. I know we all want the Marine home today – I sat outside that Mexican prison for 2 full days and I want him home – but I also understand that we can’t simply order another country to release our marine. There is an easy solution to this. We just have to do it and get it done.

What we can do, and what is minimally reasonable under these circumstances, is use our political and diplomatic muscle (and yes that can include some economic warnings) and demand an accelerated judicial process, meaning that a judge or prosecutor review his case fully right now, not later. A fair and complete review of the facts of this marine’s case will lead one to the obvious conclusion: he accidentally drove into Mexico. He never intended to bring weapons unlawfully into Mexico.

Our marine has been in the Mexican prison system since March 31. The Mexican judicial process is piecemeal and can drag on and on and on – from months to even years. It is different from our system of justice and often poisoned by bribes and corruption. In the meantime, as the Mexican justice system plays out endlessly, our marine sits in the prison.

If the marine were in the American judicial system, he would have been released on bail (8th Amendment / Constitutional right to bail) and the minute a fair prosecutor reviewed his case, the case would be dismissed. The case is not close – the facts are simple. Just listening to the 9-1-1 call placed by the marine at the Mexican checkpoint at the time is itself convincing that there was no intent to bring weapons unlawfully into Mexico.

And if an American prosecutor for some unusual or even vindictive reason thought the matter should proceed to trial, I am as certain as you can get with predicting trial results, that this marine would be found not guilty, not guilty of intending to bring weapons into Mexico unlawfully.

I drove the route — I saw what happened. I know how easy it is to accidentally drive into Mexico. When I first read about the marine’s arrest and detention, I thought it absurd to think someone could accidentally drive into Mexico but now, having seen it with my own eyes, having actually retraced the steps and hisdrive, I understand what happened. Once that wrong turn is accidentally made, you are in Mexico with no options to turn around. You are at the Mexican checkpoint. (See video re-enactments on GretaWire.)

Let me repeat: I walked the area where he entered Mexico, I retraced his drive, I looked carefully at the area, the turn, and the design of that entrance ramp, I listened to that 9-1-1 call and I was a criminal defense lawyer for more than 12 years. Trust me….

PS It is very significant that this marine was not charged with smuggling weapons — that shows that even the Mexican authorities did not suspect anything more than just having them. The only question is whether the marine intended to be in Mexico.

Published on Jun 21, 2014: Last week, Barack Obama spoke with the president of Mexico and apparently did not discuss the plight of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Marine imprisoned in a Mexican prison who claims he mistakenly crossed the border in San Diego.

This set off Greta van Susteren, who's been pushing Tahmooressi's story for the past few weeks. "I'm furious at President Obama and you should be too," she said last night on Off The Record. "At best, he blew it. At worst, he doesn't give a damn."

While she said that Obama doesn't have to call for Tahmooressi's release, van Susteren said that the President should have expressed more concern for his plight. "President Obama had his chance in that call to help Sgt. Tahmooressi, but he let us all down big time," she added.

CLICK HERE to sign the WhiteHouse.gov petition demanding Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi’s release from Mexican jail…the White House is required to respond to the petition if it gets 100,000 signatures.

WhiteHouse.gov petition has reached 129,263 signatures and President Obama has said or done NOTHING to help our U.S. Marine who has served our country with honor.

No comments: