Friday, June 30, 2006

US v. Jose D.L. (Juvenile), No. 05-50597 (6-30-06). The juvenile defendant was caught with drugs driving through a POE. The border patrol violated the Juvenile Delinquency Act (JDA) in several aspects -- failure to give Miranda quickly, delays in contacting parents, further delays in arraignment. The 9th noted the violations, but held that they weren't egregious enough for a due process violation. The 9th (Pregerson) was concerned though that repeated violations may be a pattern, and urged a heightened vigil. The 9th then turned to the juvenile's statement, and found agreed with the district court that the violations caused, in part, the juvenile to make statements that were properly suppressed. The 9th then turns to the issue of whether, absent the statements, the gov't could have indicted on the offense, given the lack of other evidence as to knowledge. That is, did the juvenile know the drugs were in the truck. The case was remanded ion that issue. In dissent, Alarcon argued that the conviction took care of the inquiry, and that any violations were harmless and not per se reversible, and the evidence was not looked at in the light most favorable to the gov't.

This case provides a good clear overview of the JDA, and the ways the gov't can (and does) violate it. The opinion surveys the various precedent.
Congrats to Deputy Federal Defender Michele Betancourt of San Diego for the win.

US v. Stewart, No. 02-10318 (6-30-06). On a remand from the Supremes, the 9th finds, pursuant to Gonzales v. Raich, 125 S. Ct 2195 (2005)(the medical marijuana case), that Congress had the power under the commerce clause. The count here concerned homemade not for sale machine guns. The 9th finds that this does affect commerce, and that it is an area that federal interest can control, even intrastate.


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