SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney was sentenced to 30 days in jail Wednesday for forging a document to make it look like a Mexican man who wanted to stay in the United States was not eligible to do so.
Jonathan M. Love was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service, must resign his law license and must pay Ignacio Lanuza $12,000 in restitution, Seattlepi.com reported (http://goo.gl/RAHFGW).
Love, 58, previously pleaded guilty to a federal deprivation of rights misdemeanor charge, acknowledging he used his position to deprive Lanuza of due process.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Lanuza was stopped by an ICE officer in 2008, and ICE started removal proceedings.
Love was assigned the case in 2009 and submitted a document to the Immigration Court that he said was signed by Lanuza in 2000. Prosecutors say Love doctored the date to make Lanuza ineligible to have his removal cancelled.
Lanuza should have been eligible to contest his deportation because he had been living in the United States for over 10 years, showed good moral character and had a family made up of U.S. citizens. Love's forgery was meant to make it appear as though Lanuza hadn't been in the United States for 10 years and was therefore ineligible for deportation relief.
The motive for Love's actions remains unclear. He said in court Wednesday he didn't know why he did it.
"It was stupid and unnecessary, and the consequences of my actions have tarnished my hard work and dedication to public service for the last 30 years," Love said.
Love was charged after Lanuza filed a civil case against him and the federal government seeking damages for legal costs Lanuza incurred because of the incident. The civil case against Love was dismissed and appealed. The case against the government continues.
"Mr. Lanuza and his family suffered greatly as a result of these egregious actions," the Washington man's attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project attorneys said in court papers.
Lanuza became a lawful permanent resident in 2014.
Information from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, http://www.seattlepi.com/