A Maryland judge blamed President Donald Trump for the fear that caused an illegal alien to flee the scene of a collision that killed a 21-year-old U.S. Marine. The illegal alien fled the scene after he crashed his BMW 335i into the Marine’s motorcycle.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Larua Kiessling said, from the bench, she received many letters about the case expressing concern about the “current political climate” where President Trump has been “harshly critical of illegal immigration and of Mexico in particular,” the Capital Gazette reported. The judge said it is “reasonable to conclude” that the defendant, Martin Martinez-Ballinas, would flee the scene out of fear of being deported.
“I’m not going to sentence based on the political environment,” Keissling told the courtroom.
Maryland defense attorney Kush Arora told Breitbart Texas that Martinez-Ballinas’s fear does not matter as to guilt or innocence. “It doesn’t matter why he ran, only that he knowingly fled the scene.” He added that the fear could be considered by the judge as a mitigating factor in sentencing.
The judge then handed down a sentence of six years in prison for what the State’s attorney called a “cowardly act.” The maximum sentence for the felony crime is 10 years and a $10,000 fine.
The court convicted Martinez-Ballinas, 29, for fleeing the scene of a February 24 crash that resulted in the death of Marine Lance Corporal James Ray Walden III. Evidence presented in the case revealed Martinez-Ballinas was speeding in his BMW 335i when he lost control while negotiating a curve. He then struck a motorcycle driven by Corporal Walden.
The Mexican national then fled the scene and hid in a nearby quarry. Police found him hiding a short time later. His attorney said his client ran because he was afraid of being deported.
Corporal Walden was a third generation military veteran. He followed his father, James Walden II, and his grandfather into service. He was stationed at Fort George G. Meade at the time of the crash.
Walden said he had encouraged his son to continue the military tradition of service and the James Walden name. “I had the privilege of watching him grow into a good man,” Walden told the Maryland newspaper. “The name James Ray Walden stops here.”
The Marine’s mother, Susan Walden, sat in the courtroom and cried as she listened to the details of the crash that killed her son, the newspaper reported. “It is the walking away that is the problem in this particular case. It is walking away and hiding,” she told the reporter. “It is walking away to protect one’s self.”
Following his arrest, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed an immigration detainer on Martinez-Ballinas and confirmed him to be a Mexican citizen illegally present in the United States. Officials wrote that his removal would “serve an important federal interest.”
Martinez-Ballinas’s attorney, David Wooten said his client didn’t run out of malicious intent. He said his client is remorseful about the crash that killed the Marine and “There’s not a day that goes by where he doesn’t constantly think about (Walden).”
The Mexican national required a translator throughout the trial. However, shortly before the judge handed down his sentence he stood and spoke in English, saying he was “sorry for” acting “cowardly,” the Capital Gazette reported.