Judge criticizes sentences for meat plant workers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Judge criticizes sentences for meat plant workers

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A federal judge in Iowa says he was embarrassed the day he sentenced to prison several dozen illegal immigrants who had been working at a Postville meatpacking plant.

The Des Moines Register says that, in a documentary film, U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett described the 2008 proceedings as a travesty.

The film by Luis Argueta is titled "abUSed: The Postville Raid."

In it, Bennett says that after the 2008 raid at the Postville plant, prosecutors pressured the workers into signing plea agreements that included five months in prison.

He says in the documentary that he found the agreements "personally and professionally to be offensive, and I thought it was a tragedy."

Bennett and prosecutors declined subsequent interview requests.

The documentary is being screened in several eastern Iowa communities this week. Including MyVerona in Cedar Falls on Monday and the University of Northern Iowa on Tuesday.

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