First off, I want to give a wholehearted “Thank You!” to the 30+ people that showed up to support Naz (and me) for his Final Hearing– from new acquaintances to long time friends and family. Also, those who joined in on the conference call, we felt your love too. I don’t even want to imagine what this journey would be like without all of your amazing support. (If this is your first time learning about this, you can read the original story here.)
I know you’re all anxious to know what happened. I’ll give you the details of what’s next, and then work my way backwards through what else happened today. Check out photos here.
To understand where we’re going from here though, you’ll need to remember that we still have a pending case in Cooke County (Gainesville, TX to be exact). We filed what is called a “Writ of Habeas Corpus.” We are asking for Naz’s original criminal case to be reopened and the felony possession charge to be either lowered to a simple possession charge or even vacated (dropped). Our attorney Pascual Madrigal, whom I met for the first time today, says it is very likely they’ll do this since, based on Supreme Court case Padilla vs. Kentucky, Naz was not adequately informed of the consequences that accepting a plea bargain would have on his immigration status.
Considering this, Naz’s final hearing has been postponed to January 12th. Our prosecutor, the judge, the prosecutor, and our attorney agreed our best bet is to postpone this hearing until after the Writ hearing on October 21st.
Everyone at STDC was uniquely considerate, beginning with the guard at the front desk. She didn’t brush our large group off as annoyingly excessive. She even seemed impressed. 😀
Thank you Lord for your sovereignty and abounding favor!
Pascual stayed after the hearing (in the heat of the parking lot) to answer everyone’s questions. Literally. It was heart-warming to see him give so much care and extra time to our group. I even hugged him But hey, we are a fun bunch of folks. I’d wanna hang out with us too. LOL. Did I mention Jason Hagerup almost got tackled by ICE agents for taking pictures outside of the facility? Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but a funny sight! “Not looking for any trouble here, officers.” Haha. Taking one for the team! We love ya Jason!
SO— we will be in Cooke County on October 21st at 9am with bells and whistles! (And more posters and banners!) Pascual said that this is where we really need LOTS of people to show up. It’s a public court house and a state case, so there’s really going to be power in numbers. If all goes well (which we know it is!!), he’ll be home soon, y’all. Don’t stop believin. 😀
Oh, and my favorite part- I got to hug AND kiss my husband for the first time in 6 months. When I walked in the courtroom with the other character witnesses (Naz’s mom and sister, his recovery sponsor and Jimmy Dorrell), my eyes met with his and I, once cool and collected, just became a mess inside! Nervously I asked if I could talk to him. The man standing there (now known as the prosecutor) said, “Yes, sure,” and I asked if I could hug Naz and he said yes, so I hugged him and kissed him! We hugged each other tightly and cried together for a moment, then the female guard stood up and reluctantly said, “We have no contact in here.” I apologized to the prosecutor and I sat behind Naz and sobbed [literally] uncontrollably– partly laughing and crying at the same time, with joy for seeing and touching him and sadness that it had been so long! I leaned forward and told him, “I look crazy!” lol.
Then, it got even better. The door to the courtroom opened and our friends filed in! We didn’t think that they would allow it; the judge had commented that we’d be done by the time they got through security (he and the prosecutor got word that we had 27 adults that wanted to enter). Unfortunately, we could only fit about 20 adults, but it was so wonderful! I could tell that Naz was just humbled with gratitude. And thank you to those who sacrificed your spot to let others in! That was so sweet.
I know many of us had high hopes and expectations for today, and envisioned what it would be like. However, the Lord works in mysterious ways that are higher than our ways. We trust in His goodness and we know that He is for us. This isn’t happening according to our will and our idea of what “should” be, and I’m glad for that. Because in the long run, Naz and I know that our trust and faith in the Lord is fruitful and will not disappoint.
See you in Gainesville!!