Judge Refuses to Dismiss Case Against Waterworld Worker in Employer Sanctions Case

New Times writer Paul Rubin's detailed analysis earlier this month of the 2008 bust at Waterworld Safari (now Wet & Wild) demonstrates just how tough it'll be to get a conviction against one of the company's managers.

To make this employer-sanctions case stick, prosecutors working for Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas will have to prove manager Lessie Serrano had knowingly hired illegal immigrants like herself. Whether Thomas can do that, thus sealing in the state's first prosecution of anyone for hiring an illegal worker, remains to be seen.

However, last week, Thomas was handed his first victory in the case. As his office announced yesterday, Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie decided to reject Serrano's motions to dismiss. You can read the judge's decision, which contains a summary of the case, by clicking here.

Yesterday, as court records show, Serrano also lost a motion to remand the charges back to the grand jury for review.

So... The trial will go on as planned. It's currently scheduled for August 11.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.