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Students receive diverted sentences following protest in governor's office

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

On June 14, five undocumented immigrant students received diverted sentences for criminal trespass charges stemming from an incident in May.

Omar Gama and four other students were arrested on May 9 during a protest at the Indiana Statehouse when they refused to leave Gov. Mitch Daniels' office. Wearing caps and gowns, the students joined arms and sat in a circle, waiting to ask the governor to veto two immigration bills enacted by the 2011 Legislature — House Enrolled Act 1402 and Senate Enrolled Act 590. Daniels signed both, and the new laws will take effect July 1.

Marco Moreno, a Lewis & Kappes attorney representing the students, said the court ordered each student to complete 24 hours of community service within the next two weeks, and if they fulfill that requirement, the cases will be dismissed. Moreno said the order should be manageable for the students who already participate in community service.

Gama, a 20-year-old undocumented immigrant who has lived in the United States since age 11, will begin his junior year this fall at Indiana University, where he is president of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Undergraduate Student Association. As a result of changes made by HEA 1402 – now Public Law 209 – if he were to attend full-time, his annual tuition would increase nearly threefold.

Increasingly, Gama and other undocumented immigrant students have been making their presence known in an effort to draw attention to the federal DREAM Act, which if passed by Congress, could allow them to become citizens by attending college or serving in the military.

“As a group and as a movement, we’ve seen young people working towards DREAM for 10 years now,” said Kathy Souchet-Mourda, a board member with the Latino/a Youth Collective.

Having waited half their lives for an opportunity to become citizens, they are putting themselves at great risk, she said, in order to make a stand.

“These are young people who are coming out of the shadows,” she said. They are students who have grown up, she explained, afraid of what might happen to them as undocumented immigrants. But now, “They’re owning that status – being proud of who they are – as students, as young people, as contributors to their society,” Souchet-Mourda said.
 

IL rehearing "Students push for immigration reform" IL May 25-June 7, 2011

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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