Thursday, November 5, 2009

U.S. v. Moriel-Luna, 585 F.3d 1191 (9th Cir. 2009)

Moriel-Luna entered the United States four times illegally, was arrested, convicted and sentenced each time for commission of various crimes. Each time he was ordered deported after serving his sentence. After his first deportation order he married a U.S. citizen. In his latest appeal of the fourth deportation order, he argued the IJ had failed to inform him after his first deportation hearing of the potential for adjusting his status. The Ninth Circuit remanded to the IJ to determine whether Luna was properly informed of that potential, and if not, whether he had been prejudiced; 244 Fed.Appx. 810 (C.A. 9). On rehearing, the IJ rejected his application because Luna could not adjust his status unless he possessed a visa. He didn't, and the IJ ordered his deportation. Luna appealed to the Ninth Circuit. After an extensive discussion of immigration law in a case that could have been disposed of in two paragraphs, the Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the IJ order. But in a footnote the court said that one of Luna's convictions, an assault with a deadly weapon, might not be a federal firearm offense and therefore not a basis for deportation based on his conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. What cost to the public for four illegal entries?: Entering the county four times illegally (Border patrol); arrested after entry for a crime each time (police); four times in custody (Sheriff); four times prosecuted (prosecutor and defense lawyer); court time four times (judge; court staff); four times in prison (prison guards) ; IJ time (two hearings-IJ and staff); Court of Appeal time [twice]) (3 judges and staff).

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