Plugging the hole

A bungling bureaucracy allowed murder suspect Maricela Martinez to escape to Mexico

"I don't think the law contemplates the kind of result that would occur if liability [on the bond] did not a result of the U.S. Immigration Service doing its job and protecting the borders of the United States. As we talked about, there would be an obvious situation where you'd have free money with no liability. I do not believe that the law contemplates or allows that, if you will. I think that it would be an unacceptable injustice and another instance of a minority community being preyed upon by unscrupulous bonds practice."

Meanwhile, the sheriff and the district attorney's office are desperately pulling strings to get Maricela sent back to face trial.

But extraditing Mexican citizens to face U.S. charges is a tricky business.In January, U.S. authorities managed to get her arrested in Mexico. But she bonded out of jail, and embassy officials indicated that felony injury to a child was not the sort of "heinous" crime necessary to skirt Mexican law.

In response, the district attorney re-indicted Martinez for murder. New warrants were issued, and in April, Martinez was again taken into custody, where she now awaits the outcome of diplomatic efforts to return her to Dallas.

Meanwhile, the sheriff's department, the district attorney's office, the INS, and Dallas County bondsmen have held a series of talks designed to plug the loophole Maricela took advantage of in the first place.

"There have not been any final resolutions, but we've had three meetings," Ligon says.

The bonding companies claim they are doing their part too.
"Now if there's an INS hold, they won't write a bond," says Adler, who represents a number of Dallas county bondsmen. "Now they [the bondsmen] know it won't be a defense.

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