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The man in black 

A Department of Homeland Security agent guarded a courthouse corridor the afternoon of July 18 as Egyptian-born Ahmed Fahmy, of Morro Bay, discussed his immediate future with an immigration caseworker. The man—with DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in some capacity—barred family, friends, and media from moving to the end of the hallway. He also refused to explain the need for the prohibition or identify himself by badge number or name.
Until the prosecutor approached.
When asked by deputy DA Eric Dobroth if they planned to take Fahmy into custody at that time, the ICE agent turned his back to wife Joleen Fanton-Fahmy—who asked the same question just minutes earlier—and responded to the prosecutor. She promptly protested the double standard, an allegation the agent denied. He claimed that Dobroth actually queried how much longer ICE planned to be there.
An inquiry to the DHS Ventura office regarding the agent’s behavior yielded no specific response as of publication. Dobroth verified that he asked the agent if he planned to take Fahmy into custody, but said he also received no definitive answer.
Long the subject of an ICE pursuit, Fahmy finally turned himself in at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse, while Dobroth, just two departments down, dismissed the misdemeanor resisting arrest charges filed against him.
San Luis Obispo police alleged that the defendant fled into a downtown club when a uniformed police officer approached him on suspicion of being drunk in public. Fahmy maintains that the officer was out of uniform and failed to identify himself and accused the department of employing excessive force. Dobroth asserted that the decision to dismiss the case wasn’t an indication of a failure by police to follow procedure.
“We felt bringing in 12 witnesses to testify was unnecessary when it will probably be a moot point anyway,� Dobroth said. “My understanding is it’s a high-percentage deportation case.�
Fahmy dodged a warrant on May 30 by not appearing at a preliminary court proceeding garrisoned by ICE agents (“A gamble pays off,� June 1). The warrant, signed by a DHS officer and not a judge in good standing—as required by law to summon
a defendant to a criminal court—was tossed that day.
At that point, Fahmy and Fanton-Fahmy said they lacked the appropriate files to hire an immigration attorney. After acquiring that documentation from the DHS offices in Ventura, they hired specialist Bob Job out of the Bay Area, who advised the Egyptian national to turn himself in. In ICE custody, Fahmy will go to one of two processing facilities in California and should receive the opportunity to post bail within a few days, according to DHS officials.
“We’re hoping they’re good to their word,� Fanton-Fahmy said.
According to Fanton-Fahmy, Job stated that California immigration detention centers are full, and her husband will likely be headed for Arizona. DHS agents also assured Fahmy a phone call the day after his arrest—a promise, his wife claims, they already broke.
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