Drain the swamp: Judge Linda Reade’s husband invested in private prisons just as she arrested hundreds of Rubashkin workers.
A new investigative report on MotherJones.com claims that Judge Linda Reade put hundreds of immigrants behind bars while her husband invested in private prisons.
Nearly 400 workers were arrested in the May 12, 2008 bust, which cost $5 million and was then the biggest workplace immigration raid in U.S. history.
The arrest led to the collapse of the Agriprocessors meat plant and the imprisonment of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin.
“They were driven to the National Cattle Congress, a fairground in Waterloo, where several federal judges would handle their cases over nine business days,” reports MotherJones.com.
“Hearings were held in trailers and a dance hall. Cots were set up for the defendants in a nearby gymnasium.
At the time, undocumented immigrants caught in raids like this were usually charged with civil violations and then deported.
But most of these defendants, shackled and dragging chains behind them, were charged with criminal fraud for using falsified work documents or Social Security numbers.
About 270 people were sentenced to five months in federal prison, in a process that one witness described as a “judicial assembly line.””
Overseeing the process was Reade, the chief judge of the Northern District of Iowa.
At that time, her husband, Michael Figenshaw, owned stock in the Corrections Corporation of America and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation as part of his retirement account, MotherJones.com reported.
Reade’s husband also bought between $30,000 and $100,000 worth of additional CCA and GEO Group stock five days before the Postville raid, according to her financial disclosure forms.
Ethics experts say these investments were inappropriate and may have violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, the website reported.
Reade, infamous for her role in the trial of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and her excessive 27 year sentence for his non-violent crimes, was criticized recently for her sentence of a Lebanese man in the United States to less than five years in prison for arranging to send weapons to a terrorist organization in Lebanon.