An au pair from Colombia was charged with a third-degree felony by the Utah Highway Patrol last weekend and may face deportation. Diana Marino Duarte, 25, living in the United States on a J-1 visa through the U.S. Dept. of State, was charged with failing to yield to officers.
Duarte's host mother, Kasey Ring, of Park City, is livid about how law enforcement has handled the process as well as how she says she has been treated.
Ring says the incident occurred late at night on Saturday, June 22, on Interstate 40 and that Duarte was neither "drinking nor speeding." Duarte was driving Ring's Volkswagen Passat. According to Summit County Sheriff's Captain Justin Martinez, UHP officers attempted to make a felony stop on Duarte, who was driving very slowly. Duarte would not pull over because, according to Ring, "she didn't realize they were attempting to pull her over."
Duarte pulled over at the next exit and was charged with failing to yield to an officer, a third-degree felony. Ring's Passat was impounded. Martinez, says Summit County Jail, where Duarte is being held, and the Sheriff's Office are nothing more than a "housing facility" and that UHP is in charge of the case. UHP was unavailable for comment.
Because the jail's visiting hours as well as the County Clerk's and Recorder's offices were not open until Monday, Ring could not find out what charges were filed against Duarte. She says she was told that Duarte was put on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Hold and that she would be deported.
Ring is furious about the process and says she was not given information by the jail as to Duarte's charges and was not given a public defender. She claims Duarte is "sitting in Summit County Jail without representation and without arraignment."
In response, Martinez said, "She's entitled to her opinions but we have a judicial system in place and there is due process."
In calling the jail for more information, Ring says she was told that the case is "a UHP thing." She claims she tried reaching out to UHP several times and was transferred on the phone "nearly 30 times." After being told to call UHP Section 7 in Heber, who was handling the case, Ring says the phone was never answered.
"Law enforcement's level of communication with the public was unacceptable," Ring said. "Our right is to receive information in a polite manner. If someone of my involvement in the community gets treated like that, I can only imagine what happens with those citizens who don't speak English very well."
Martinez, whose explanation of the process Ring appreciated, reemphasized putting faith in due process and says he understands Ring's frustration but stressed, "Don't just make assumptions, good or bad."