Judge rules in favor of landlord’ defense in harboring case

By Brandon Ortiz

BORTIZ@HERALD-LEADER.COM

UPDATED: In a major blow to the federal government, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that an indicted Lexington landlord can use his ignorance of the law as a defense in a harboring trial scheduled to start next week.

William Jerry Hadden, 69, goes to trial Monday on charges that he harbored 60 illegal immigrants by allowing them to rent apartments at two Cardinal Valley apartment complexes in Lexington.

The trial is thought to be the first time the federal government has prosecuted a landlord for renting to illegal immigrants, defense attorneys have said in court filings.

Hadden’s defense attorneys have steadfastly maintained his innocence and claim that the federal government is twisting the intent of harboring laws. Tuesday’s ruling will allow defense attorneys to argue at trial that even if Hadden broke the law, he cannot be convicted because the law is confusing and vague and he did not understand it.

U.S. District Judge Karl Forester ordered the government to turn over all documents related to an “outreach program” required under the law to educate the public about harboring laws.

Hadden’s attorneys declined to comment for this story. But they’ve argued in legal filings that the government has not complied with its responsibility to educate the public.

“Jerry Hadden feels that he has been singled out for prosecution, and that the United States is attempting to make an example of him in order to deter others from providing the basic necessity of shelter to individuals who may be in this country illegally,” attorney Russ Baldani wrote in a motion. “If that is true, the government is attempting to educate the public about the crime of harboring by the prosecution of a reputable business person with a spotless record, rather than complying” with the educational requirements of the law.

Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Chicago, declined to answer questions about whether the agency has complied with the outreach requirements in the law. Montenegro cited the open case against Hadden as the reason.

A search of the agency’s Web site, www.ice.gov, on Tuesday afternoon did not return any fact sheets or materials explaining the law.

The ruling will make it tougher for the prosecution to win its case, University of Kentucky law professor William Fortune said. Only a handful of laws, such as federal income tax laws, allow ignorance as a defense.

“It lets the defense say we just did not know what the law was and what our obligations were under the law,” Fortune said. “It is a defense that is generally not available. Generally you’re required to know what your obligations are under the law.”

Prosecutors will have to prove that the Haddens knew the tenants were here illegally, yet rented to them anyway. More important, they must also prove that Hadden attempted to conceal, harbor, or shield the tenants from detection.

Four illegal immigrants have testified in depositions that they showed only Mexican ID when they applied for apartments. The tenants applied to an apartment manager who also was an illegal immigrant, according to Hadden’s indictment.

But the immigrants also testified that Hadden had nothing to do with their entry into the United States. He did not find their employment, nor did he try to hide them from authorities, they said.

Hadden owns Woodbridge and Cross Keys apartments with his son, Jamey. Jamey Hadden, who lives in Vietnam, also has been charged but has not yet been served with the indictment.

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6 Comments on “Judge rules in favor of landlord’ defense in harboring case”

  1. lccat Says:

    “In a major blow to the federal government”, this is a MAJOR blow to United States Citizens who do not PROFIT from the invasion of the ILLEGALS!

    Our elitist politicians and their elitist contributors consider United States citizens only as “units of labor” and the sooner we become a Third World Country the better for their “bottom line”! Our elitist politicians and their elitist political contributors will not be happy until they transform the United States into a Third World Country for most of our citizens while furnishing the Chamber of Commerce and all their Elitist Special Interest Groups with their supply of “cheap labor”. The politicians and their Elitist Contributors are providing “benefits” to the ILLEGALS on the backs of United States and Florida citizens through our assets such as the Education System, Social Security, and Health Care not to mention our National Security while “privatizing” the profits for themselves!

  2. Todd Says:

    For as long as I can physically remember, I’ve been taught that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Now, it is? The ramifications of someone finally being able to wriggle out of trouble this way is frightening.

  3. Brittanicus Says:

    Neither parties are really placing any momentum into ridding our country of criminal illegal aliens, or the millions who think they have planted their lives in America for good. The administration are giving ‘lip service’ to citizens, and are at least enforcing the law to some extent with the 1986. law. But the fence remains wide open, thanks to the globalist free traders, whose only agenda is volumes of cheap labor, cheap goods an enormous profits. The upper echelon of businesses executives don’t live in our neighborhoods, where death by illegal alien is a growing. If they live in the cities, it is a gated community and far from gang members, rapists, murderers, carjacking, robberies and the momentum of crime. Probably the largest crime rate is on our highways, as illegal foreign nationals killing families because they were drunk or on drugs. Yet Democrats who are the majority are secretly gutting the border fence, headed by the megalomaniac Nancy Pelosi. She and her party leaders have cut funding, including to stop the SAVE ACT from coming to a vote.

    Never seen millions of frustrated, angry Americans demonstrate in the streets, like they do in Europe and the rest of the world? If the U.S. grants amnesty and gives citizenship to 12 to 30 million illegal migrants, as Senators Obama and McCain propose. Those naturalized citizens could possibly add 120 million U.S. and foreign-born relatives to the U.S., in the next 20 years who all consume energy. Diversity Alliance for Sustainable America. http://www.earthtimes.org/ You must decide your children’s future, your jobs by demanding Democrats sponsor the Federal SAVE ACT (H.R.4088 enforcement in the workplace) Even the US government uses the E-verify system to check their workers. Call toll-free (2022243121 )
    NUMBERSUSA. Tell everybody..!

  4. Dave Says:

    Please join us in the fight to save our country.
    http://www.numbersusa.com

  5. Bobby Says:

    Another lawless liberal swine. Why mince words, when this judge is harming by his lunacy American citizens.

  6. June Says:

    If we can’t honor our immigration laws, what other laws can we ignore? Can we stop paying income tax? Can we say, “we are poor, therefore we can break into a country and take what we want?” After all, illegal do it all the time and many in Congress want to bestow citizenship on them. Insane? You bet! At least we’ve got all the crazies in one spot – Washington, D.C. call the men in the white coats!


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