Saturday, September 11, 2010


Human trafficking defendent Orian to remain in custody at least until October 8

by Larry Geller

Judge Susan Oki Mollway heard the appeal by human trafficking defendant Mordechai Orian to conditions of his release on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at District Court in Honolulu.

After arguments, a statement from an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and discussion with both sides, Mollway ruled that Orian will remain in custody until a hearing set for 10 a.m. on October 8. Mollway said that her inclination is to affirm the pre-trial bail ruling made on Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi.

There were two central themes that Judge Mollway dealt with. The first was to determine how a detainer for a  deportation order by ICE would play out should he be released before trial. The second was to assess whether Orian had rights to put up certain properties in order to post the $1 million bail set by Judge Kobayashi.

It appeared, during Orian’s Thursday bail hearing before Judge Kobayashi, that if Orian were freed from custody on the federal trafficking charges, he could be deported back to Israel by ICE. Although ICE had been asked to attend Thursday’s hearing according to Judge Kobayashi, no one from ICE was present in the courtroom.

On Friday an ICE agent was present and did answer questions. The agent confirmed that ICE would likely pick him up within 24-48 hours and assess what would be necessary to have him deported or appear before an immigration judge. The agent said that the respondent (Orian) could withdraw his appeal of the deportation order, purchase a ticket on his own, and fly back to his country (Israel). That would be referred to as a “self-deportation.” There was nothing conclusive said about whether ICE would notify the District Court of its actions.

Orian’s attorney Mark J. Werksman had argued that Orian had been trying hard to remain in this country. The government responded that conditions had changed—he is now facing the possibility of a significant prison term and might prefer to return to Israel, where extradition back to the U.S. typically takes two years.

Judge Mollway then turned to the property issues, questioning Werksman’s assertion that Orian is indeed paying $4,500 to $5,000 a month on his mortgage of more than $1 million in property. She stated that the court does not have an account of all his assets. Also, creditors may appear now that word of Orian’s indictment is out. Werksman said that it will take time to assemble the necessary documents. So Mollway set the date of October 8 for Orian’s next appearance and said that it could be handled by his local council (Werksman is from Los Angeles) with phone participation.

Until then, Orian will remain in custody. He is presently at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.


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