MCSO Shackling Pregnant Moms, and Singer Linda Ronstadt Plans to March Against Arpaio

CHRISTMAS ANGEL

Miriam Mendiola-Martinez is a small woman, but her passive, sad demeanor makes her seem smaller. When she was busted by Scottsdale police for using false ID at her place of employment for six years — Dillard's department store — the arresting officer estimated the then-pregnant Latina's build at 4-foot-9 and 120 pounds.

She later told investigators that she'd purchased another person's identity on the street for about $400. She knew what she was doing was illegal, but it allowed her to work at Dillard's as a cleaning lady, helping to raise her American-born children. Her third child, Angel Carmarena Mendiola, was born December 21 at Maricopa Integrated Health System (the county hospital) while Miriam was still in MCSO custody.

In some ways, she was lucky. The MCSO's policy heretofore has been to shackle pregnant women as they give birth. My colleague Valeria Fernandez has previously reported on this MCSO policy for New Times, describing the ordeal of another pregnant Latina who was shackled throughout her labor, despite the wishes of healthcare providers.

But during Mendiola-Martinez's C-section at county, her female MCSO guard cut her some uncharacteristic slack by not shackling her during the actual operation. Afterward, though she was in terrific pain and could barely walk, the male guard who took over for the female officer shackled the new mother to her hospital bed. This, despite that she was repeatedly checked on by the same male guard, who also happened to be Hispanic, she said.

"He made the restraint on my left ankle very tight," she recalled through an interpreter. "One time, the nurse came in and could see that my foot was swollen because he would not loosen it."

Mendiola-Martinez had been shackled on and off throughout her 62 days in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's barbaric gulags. Each time she had a court appearance, she was strip-searched and shackled, as were the other prisoners. When she finally left the hospital on December 23, she was forced to march in shackles, her hands bound before her, the wound from her C-section still bleeding.

Though she'd been allowed two short visits with her baby, she didn't know what would happen to her child as she tried to keep pace with her armed escort. Later, she learned that her sister-in-law had picked up the child before she was ushered back to Lower Buckeye Jail. See, she had a court appearance to make before Commissioner David O. Cunanan on December 24.

Through the pro bono legal maneuvering of her criminal attorney David Black and the valiant efforts of her immigration lawyer Delia Salvatierra, she was finally released on Christmas Day. Black and the County Attorney's Office agreed on a plea deal: The 34-year-old mother of three pleaded guilty to a class 6 felony of solicitation to commit a forgery and was sentenced to time served and probation.

Salvatierra peppered ICE with legal paperwork before her client's release. Normally, an undocumented alien would be turned over to ICE after being cut loose from Arpaio's vast incarceration complex. From there, an undocumented immigrant might go on to a detention center at Florence or Eloy or even be deported back to Mexico, depending on the circumstances.

ICE, however, decided not to take Arpaio's damaged goods. No doubt, something about a pregnant woman separated from her child on the day of Jesus Christ's birth screamed bad publicity. However, ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard wouldn't cop to that.

"The decision as to whether an alien will be detained while his or her immigration case goes forward," said Picard, "is made on an individual basis depending on a variety of factors, including medical and other humanitarian considerations."

Indeed, during the George W. Bush administration, ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Meyers issued a memorandum highlighting the importance of ICE officers using their discretion when it comes to "arrest and custody determinations" concerning pregnant or nursing mothers. It probably didn't hurt that Salvatierra submitted this document as a reminder to ICE while advocating for her client.

ICE's own guidelines state, "Restraints for medical or mental-health purposes may be authorized only by the facility's clinical medical authority after reaching the conclusion that less restrictive measures are not appropriate."

The Arizona Department of Corrections has an almost identical policy in place. But such norms of humanity are not observed by the MCSO.

Questioned by reporter Fernandez for her story on the shackling of expectant moms, MCSO apologist and Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre cited the possibility that a woman might be "faking labor" and attempt escape.

Why a woman in great physical agony would try to run away from the hospital she assumes her newborn is still in is a conundrum only someone as slithery as MacIntyre could envision.

MCSO media liaison Lieutenant Brian Lee claimed that Mendiola-Martinez wasn't really shackled, but rather "had a soft restraint attached on one leg" to keep her from escaping.

"This is consistent with any inmate being treated in an unsecured facility," asserted Lee, adding that, regardless of the charge, "MCSO would have treated other inmates in the same manner."

Thing is, identity theft — terrible as it may be for some — isn't exactly armed robbery or murder. And treating postpartum moms like canines on a leash is another in a long list of abuses that don't speak well for the MCSO.

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21 comments
Angie
Angie

women and men are being murdered in border cities on the Mexican side,No outrage by mexican citizens living in this country. Instead they march on our streets and DEMAND rights that they think they deserve. She broke the law when she walked across the desert,who would have been blamed if she gave birth then? Hope she sues our state not because she was arrested but because ALL you illegal supporters deserve to pay. NOT A CHICANA,LATINA,MEXICAN I AM AMERICAN!

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

If men were pregnant and had to go through labor, there would be no question the shackling would be eliminated. But as long as the "good ole" boys out of the back-water era write the policies and laws, they will continue to do nothing. Read Arizona's history... it's shameful.. "Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment" by Mona Lynch. If the DOC can eliminate shackling a DOC at the core of "punitive" NOT "restorative" punishment, then it's time the Maricopa County jail step update policies from the slavery era into the 21st Century.

mommyhacker
mommyhacker

Yes, but New York only just banned this practice which only proves my point further. If New York only just banned this practice with legislation last year this means that many other states are still practicing it as well. My point is that Arizona and the MCSO are not the only ones who practice the schackling of pregnant inmates. New Times obviously has a problem with Sheriff Joe, but I am going to call them on their shady reporting every time I get the opportunity. Who's Lisa?

Fred Smythe
Fred Smythe

Arizona is, by far, not the only state that has this policy in many detention facilities.

To date, 46 states have no legislation that restricts the shackling of pregnant women in prisons, jails, and detention centers, leaving the practice to the discretion of individual facilities. Illinois, California, Vermont, and New Mexico and New York prohibit it entirely.

Non-federal facilities are exempt from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy that, in October 2008, barred the shackling of pregnant women, "except in the most extreme circumstances." This policy is in alignment with the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified.

Shackling policies are especially pertinent given that women are the fastest growing demographic in U.S. prisons, according to the Women's Prison Association. As with the general prison population, most are serving sentences for nonviolent offenses.

LisaAllensConscience
LisaAllensConscience

Mommyhacker, or Lisa Allen, take your pick, did u even bother to read the article you posted? Read it sgsin snd note the time stamp. The NY Gov signed the bill. NY implemented a ban on shackling pregnant moms.

You said: "Arizona is not the only state that shackles pregnant inmates, New York does too."

WRONG!!!! NY did, no longer "does." As for Arizona, read Lemons' article, Arizona's Department of Corrections -- u know, the goddamn Arizona state prisons -- doesn't shackle pregnant moms.

The feds don't shackle pregnant moms. But the MCSO does. Whaat does that tell you? Some mom you are.

Miki
Miki

She's an illegal alien and should be deported. Quit with the pity party story, her and her anchor baby shouldn't be here in the first place.

Mommyhacker
Mommyhacker

Arizona is not the only state that shackles pregnant inmates, New York does too. Check it out:http://www.cleveland.com/natio...I am not saying that it is humane or that this particular woman deserved to be shackled, but I can see that in some instances it may be neccesary.New Times, you make Sheriff Arpaio sound like he is doing something totally out of the norm when he is not. Shame on you again.

sdg
sdg

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Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

#9 - Mr. Johnson, Great comment. Humanity is something lacking in Arizona. Money means more than people. Once it's realized, those who can leave will. Those who are considering moving here will do the research and hopefully avoid Arizona. As long as thomas, arpaio, pearce, jd hayworth prevail -- then Arizona is doomed.

lujlp
lujlp

You want to stop illegal imigration JJ? Stop voting republican. Republicans had the house, senate, the white house and the supreme court. What did they do about illegal immigration? Absolutly nothing - becuase their campaign contributors rely on cheap labor.

You want to stop illegal immigration? Vote 3rd party, refuse to shop at shops that employ illegals. Acctually do something.

But its so much easier to sit at your desk as type angrily on a keyboard and pretend that the people you voted for are being thwatred in their efforts to do what you want - isnt it?

The dont care about you, they dont care about the illegals or abortion, they just use these issues to push you into voting on blind emotion rather than rational thought.

You want to stop illegal immigration? Stop paying your taxes, stop voting for the very people who keep them coming in, stop being reactionary.

Crow
Crow

They shackle a pregnant women whose only crime is trying to work yet they let Adrian Cruz a convicted child rapist serving a life sentence walk right out of court. What brave deputies Arpaio has mentored.

This whole ID Theft law is also bullshit. While we waste resources chasing pregnant working women we ignore credit card theft and internet fruad.

NAOMA FOREMAN
NAOMA FOREMAN

ENOUGH KIDS ALREADY. STOP WITH THE BIRTHING AND TAKECARE OF THE ONES YOU HAVE.

Jameson Johnson
Jameson Johnson

No matter what charge this woman was accused or convicted of, she deserves to be treated like a human being. That is what separates us from nations like Cambodia, Iran, and Afghanistan. If we as a nation are to regain our high moral ground, we must stop acting like savages.

Ali Alexander
Ali Alexander

"He's a sadistic man," said the multi-Grammy winner of Arpaio. "He doesn't have great respect for the law. I come from a police family. My brother was the chief of police in Tucson for many years, a real lawman . . . He was the one who made me understand that when the law is unevenly applied or badly applied, it weakens all law. That's what's very concerning about Sheriff Arpaio."-----------------Too bad Ms. Ronstadt doesn't believe that last sentence about the law being unevenly applied or badly applied. If she really believes that, then she should believe in the deportation of illegal aliens. To ignore their presence is to unevenly apply the law and to discriminate against legal immigrants. To let some off because of their ethnicity is to unevenly apply the law.

JJ
JJ

Yo, stupid montrose mike. I'm not using medicaid, medicare or SSI. I am a hard working American citizen. I pay taxes. I vote for every school override and anything to do with helping children further their education. I have children and want them to have the best education they can Do you live in AZ? Do you know what it's like to live here with all the illegals? If you want to take care of them then have at it. I'm sick of taking care of non-U.S. citizens. Get a life POS.

Wake up Women of Arizona!!
Wake up Women of Arizona!!

This is cruel and barbaric and just illustrates how back-water Arizona is to tolerate this cruelty to humanity. Women are not respected in Arizona. This could be your daughter, your sister, your niece -- all are at risk. Is Arizona proud of this treatment of women and newborn babies?

Thank you Linda for coming forward. We need your leadership and voice.

Montrose Mike
Montrose Mike

Hey JJ, How old are you? I am sick and tired of paying for your Social Security and medicare and medicaid. By the way all those times you did not have a job I want that money payed back to me. All those time you voted down a tax hike to support schools yeah I want that money too.

As long as your shruf id picking up pregnant mommies, you get to pay for them. Guess what dirt bag, because he kid was just born and you are older then it and will be on Social security longer then it will be - YOU ARE STEALING its SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS - MATTER OF FACT YOUR STEALING MY PAYMENTS - give me my money back and STOP stealing from little babies, My GOD you are an evil person, stealing from all these folks but especially from the babies...

JJ
JJ

Another thing. Who paid for this womans medical bills? I' sick of paying for every illegal to come into our state. They all need to go away. The U.S. citizens are getting ripped off by them every day. When will it ever stop?

JJ
JJ

Don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time. I don't feel sorry for the woman. She brought it upon herself.Go Sheriff Joe! You rock!

Coz
Coz

Somebody has to write for Montini Stephen, because the guy is a fucking joke as a reporter.

>>I've just written one of Montini's columns for him.

Coz
Coz

Typical lying bullshit from MacEnweasel.

>>Questioned by reporter Fernandez for her story on the shackling of expectant moms, MCSO apologist and Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre cited the possibility that a woman might be "faking labor" and attempt escape.

 
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