Friday, July 22, 2005

Congratulations, we know you're not guilty but. . .

33 year old Omar Dela-Rosa, a Mexican immigrant & family man from Ambler, surrendered himself to police Tuesday and was held without bail on charges of rape, attempted murder & aggravated assault. All along, Dela-Rosa insisted he was innocent of all charges and, as it turns out, he was. Police now think Dela-Rosa's younger half-brother, a homeless man who bears a remarkable resemblance to him, is the man who committed the crime. Great for Dela-Rosa who was expected to be released and attend a party in his honor at Zesty's in Manayunk where he's worked as a sous chef for over a year.

Unfortunately, Dela-Rosa who has a valid green card, has been detained by the INS who plans to deport him to his native Mexico. The reason? A 1999 conviction for aggravated assault on a police officer; a conviction that was reviewed shortly after the even by a federal immigration judge who decided the circumstances did not warrant deportation. The wrongful arrest on the rape charges triggered federal action that will continue despite his exonoration of the rape charges because the government decided to deport all immigrants who have committed violent crimes in the wake of 9/11/01. Dela-Rosa will now have to hire an attorney to fight the deportation on the basis that the 1999 decision was binding.

It could be worse I suppose, he could have been executed before anyone was willing to look at evidence that exonerated him.

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