Rick In Jail

Melissa Lepley's picture
Submitted by Melissa Lepley on Tue, 2007-10-23 04:04

Hello SOLOists,
I haven’t been around for a while, because for the last three weeks, I have been wading through a governmental cesspool of apathy, bureaucracy, and red tape.
Some of you may have noticed the absence of Rick Giles from this forum for the last month or so. He is not on vacation; he has not given up, or left in a huff. He is in jail, and has been since the 26th or 27th of September. He has been in prison, without arrest, without trial, without legal recourse or appeal, for almost a month. And why? What heinous crime, you might ask, warrants being thrown into jail with no rights, no information, and no idea how long he’ll be incarcerated? Well, the combined crimes of not being a US citizen and misreading the date on his tourist visa.
Rick was asking directions to the bus station, as pedestrians aren’t allowed to cross the border into Canada, on the 26th of last month. Instead of helping, the policeman took his ID, checked his visa, and found that instead of expiring on the 27th, as Rick believed, it expired on the 20th. He was taken into custody, and has been there ever since.
The INS, which is supposed to notify the New Zealand embassy whenever a NZ citizen is arrested, did not. His social worker, whom he requested get the address and phone number of the NZ consulate, got him the contact information for the embassy in New Zealand. If he hadn’t written my phone number on his arm during the few moments he had alone with his stuff, nobody would have any idea where he is. He used his one phone-call to call me, and I have harassed, begged, and bluffed my way to getting his address, inmate number, and all the information I can get, which is woefully little.
I have made contact with the NZ consulate in Chicago, and the Embassy in Washington DC. I informed them that one of their citizens had been summarily tossed into prison for the smallest offense imaginable. You’ll be glad to know that they are using their full diplomatic might on his behalf. They are making a file. They faxed him a letter informing him of his rights, which amount to nothing. They are very friendly and courteous, and try to be helpful. However, unless the US starts to torture Rick, there’s nothing they can do. Apparently the US government can hold him as long as they want, for whatever reason (or lack thereof) they choose.
This is a plea, dear SOLOists, from me. If anyone has any experience with dealing with the INS, or with the US Justice system… if anyone knows anything or anyone who can help, or even give advice, please contact me. I have done everything I can think of, and he’s still there, no court date, no rights, and no expectation of release. I can write letters to him, and send him books, writing materials, and stamps. However, I don’t even know where to begin to get him free.
Thank you.

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P.S. Melissa

Robert's picture

I also thank you for your help. You are an angel to do this for someone who is basically a stranger!

I may be able to get a bit of free advice out of the KU's foreign visitors Dept., they are very good. I'll send them an inquiry in the morning.

Can you give me the name of the city he is detained in?
I may also be able to get a few recommendations for immigration lawyers in his area.

But like I said, I fear that he may remain in jail until they can arrange for him to be thrown out of the US. And I very much doubt he'll ever be allowed back in legally.

Fuck. Me. Sideways.

Matty Orchard's picture

Jesus, this is the kind of bullshit you only see on 20/20. I know nothing about what you were asking for information on but if there's anything I can do as New Zealand citizen to help push for Rick's immediate release please let me (or for that matter, all of us) know.

Homeland Security

Robert's picture

in action I'm afraid.

I got detained for four hours at the border coming back from Montreal because one box on the out-dated copy of my DS2019 wasn't initialled. The current copy of my DS2019 was correct. I made the mistake of handing over all my documents rather than just some.

Rick obviously made the mistake of asking a cop directions. You don't ask Policemen anything in the US unless you want a headache.

In any case, with an out of date VISA, he'd have been given the rubber glove enema-treatment at the Canadian border crossing. My guess is that he'll be held until he is deported.

I hope the poor boy used his brains and bought traveller's insurance. If so, I think that that may cover these sort of situations and he may be able to get money for a lawyer.

But I very much doubt that there is anything NZ politicians can do. Like it or not, Rick has made a rod for his own back by not paying close attention to his travel documents.

Good Lord!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'll send this on to a couple of politicians who should be able to help. How fucking outlandish.

Thanks so much for your efforts Melissa!

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