On August 8, Dallas County Judge Dominique Collins sentenced Osvaldo Cerda, 19, to 20 years in prison for killing a 24-year-old nursing student in an alcohol-fueled crash last year.
Judge Collins addressed Cerda, saying: "All I've seen you do all day is scan my face to see what you can do to get out of this. You've sat here and asked for mercy, but you're not getting out of this one."
A day earlier, Cerda pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Heather VanHoozer was on the way to the grocery store in a car driven by her boyfriend, when Cerda crashed his Ford Expedition into their vehicle on West Centerville Road in Garland.
The Dallas Morning News reported:
According to prosecutor Justin Lord, Cerda got out of his SUV after the crash, took a last sip of beer and threw the can down before fleeing. A witness at a nearby gas station chased after him until officers were able to detain him. His blood-alcohol content was 0.182, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
A witness gave chase, which led to Cerda's prompt arrest.
Heather was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Though in the country illegally, Cerda was never deported, despite three prior arrests for marijuana possession.
Among the conditions under which ICE agents are now permitted to issue a detainer, is if "the individual has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions."
The memo was signed by ICE director John Morton, and as is custom with this administration, was quietly released on a Friday evening.
Illegal aliens are now only eligible for deportation proceedings under the following conditions:
- the alien has previously been convicted of or charged with a felony;
- the alien has three or more prior misdemeanor convictions;
- the alien has a prior misdemeanor conviction or has been charged with a misdemeanor offense that involves —
- violence, threats, or assault;
- sexual abuse or exploitation;
- driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
- unlawful flight from the scene of an accident;
- unlawful possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon;
- the distribution or trafficking of a controlled substance, or
- other significant threat to public safety;
- the alien has been convicted of unlawful entry or has illegally reentered the U.S. after a previous removal or return;
- the alien has an outstanding order of removal;
- the alien has been found by an immigration officer or an immigration judge to have knowingly committed fraud;
- the alien otherwise poses a significant risk to national security, border security, or public safety.
In fact, ICE agents are no longer allowed to take illegal aliens into custody based only on their illegal status in this country, an additional crime must first be committed.
Furthermore, mere drug possession, is no longer enough to detain an illegal alien.
While this policy was officially introduced in 2012, it was an unofficial policy of the Obama administration for the past few years, according to to sources with ICE.
Shortly before Cerda was sentenced, Heather's father, Alan VanHoozer, described the last time he saw his daughter..."I didn't want to see her that way but I had to see her that way. They hadn't cleaned her up yet. She had blood coming out of her mouth, her nose and her eye. That's the last image I remember of my daughter."