Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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Opportunity Knocks — Answer it!

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 8, 2019

No. 1,629

I responded to a call from Casa San Jose recently. Two individuals had been picked up by ICE and detained temporarily at their facility on the South Side. I submitted the proper form and sent in my card. They were each given the opportunity to talk to me by cell phone while I was in the waiting room. This contact is only permitted to an attorney, which is the reason why Casa San Jose has volunteer attorneys. I asked each of them for their ICE Identification number, which begins with the letter A. One provided it and the other said he would think about it and if he decided to do so, would call from the Beaver County Jail, where they both would be transported.

By giving me his A number, the first detainee was enabling Casa San Jose to track his location as he moved from place-to-place. Family members would then be able to arrange counsel to represent him and bond to be posted at the location where he was being held.

The second detainee called the next day from the Beaver County Jail. However, as is usual for jail calls, the call is collect. Unlike calls I remember from the past, the recipient of a Beaver County jail call cannot agree at that time to accept charges. There must be a prior arrangement with the phone company. I imagine that attorneys who handle criminal cases have made these arrangements. I haven’t and probably will not.

The purpose of the attorney visits at the ICE detention facility is to facilitate family contact and representation (by a different attorney) through tracking by Casa San Jose to track using the A number. By passing up the chance to do this at the ICE facility, the second detainee lost a valuable opportunity.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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