Officials Defend "How-to" Manual Uncovered by ACLU

From the Chicago Tribune - The U.S. attorneys office and a federal judge are defending the use of documents (including the "how-to" manual I discussed last week) that were given to attorneys as well as workers arrested in the larget immigration raid in history, in Postville, Iowa.

Chief Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss for the Northern District of Iowa defended the script, saying that it was standard procedure to provide attorneys with scripts for routine hearings and the practice was not only linked to immigration cases, but to criminal cases as well.

Bob Teig, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa said, ""The documents helped ensure fairness, understanding, and constitutional rights were of paramount importance throughout the proceedings.  They did nothing to push people into pleading guilty; quite the opposite is true."

However, among the documents are waivers -- printed in English and Spanish -- that bar workers from pursuing further legal claims or procedures. Others waive the legal right to a grand jury to determine criminal charges.

One waiver read, "I have been advised that I have the right to insist that any felony charge brought against me in federal court first be presented to a U.S. Grand Jury ... I would like to waive that right, and agree to be prosecuted under information filed against me in this case by the United States Attorney."

I'm not exactly sure how these waivers fit into Teig's idea of ensuring fairness, understanding and constitutional rights.