Thursday, June 16, 2005

US v. Bahena-Cardenas

No. 03-50479 (6-13-05). In an important Crawford case, the 9th (hall) concluded that a warrant of deportation is "nontestimonial because it was not made in anticipation of litigation, and because it is a simple, routine, objective, cataloging of an unambiguous factual matter." This arose in a 1326 prosecution where the gov't didn't call the officer who supposedly witnessed the defendant's deportation. The defendant objected to another agent's testimony about the deportation as hearsay. The 9th found that the warrant was a like a birth certificate or other public record; it didn't have the on-the-scene subjectivity (note: although it is supposed to note an on the scenes event). The 9th was forced to rule this way or the implications would be that the gov't had to locate agents that signed the warrant and get them to trial. It just wasn't going to happen. This case had other interesting features, including witnesses that the defendant was actually born in the US, including someone that supposed to have witnessed the birth, records and so forth. Of course, the gov't had contradictory evidence, and documents. The 9th affirmed the conviction, further finding that the court didn't abuse its discretion in barring a Mexican cultural export about supposed "fake" Mexican certificates.


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