Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Legal Analysis of Postville: Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Law

Peter  Moyers, a judicial clerk to Chief Judge Linda R. Reade during criminal proceedings after the Agriprocessors raid in Postville, Iowa, has written a law review article on the criminal prosecutions, which will be published by the Seattle University Law Review in April 2009. The title is "Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Law."  Here is the working draft.

ABSTRACT:  On Monday, May 12, 2008, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement led an immigration raid at the Agriprocessors, Inc. meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The local U.S. Attorney's Office pursued criminal complaints against approximately 300 migrant workers. The raid at Postville remains the nation's largest criminal immigration raid. I aim to provide a detailed and accurate account of the investigation of Agriprocessors, the raid, the criminal prosecutions, the sentencings and the aftermath. In so doing, I argue that a confluence of factors explain the number of individuals arrested and the accelerated criminal proceedings. I describe how the investigation of Agriprocessors led to the raid and criminal prosecutions. I show that the defendants, though not technically coerced, were the victims of systemic coercion. Such systemic coercion produced prompt resolutions of their cases, which propelled the guilty pleas and sentencings. I then argue that the accelerated process was premised upon two flawed interpretations of federal law, without which the guilty pleas and removal orders could not have been achieved. First, the USAO employed section1028A(a)(1) of Title 18, aggravated identity theft, which imposes a two-year mandatory, consecutive sentence to any defendant convicted under it, to leverage expedited plea agreements. The interpretation is erroneous, because the statute was intended to cover only true identity thieves, not those who did not know whether the means of identification they used belonged to another actual person. Second, I address section 1228(c)(5) of Title 8, judicial removal, which permits a federal district court to enter an order of removal against a criminal defendant as part of a plea agreement with the government. I argue that the district court improperly applied the statute, because the statute only applies to defendants who are lawfully admitted to the United States. The Agriprocessors employees were never lawfully admitted to the United States. Such orders of removal were invalid on their own terms. I argue that these mistaken applications of federal law are prone to repetition, because the relevant players cannot be relied upon to insist on the proper application of the operative statutes. Finally, I argue rectifications of these misinterpretations are likely to diminish the feasibility of future raids followed by imprisonment.

KJ

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2008/11/a-legal-analysi.html

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Comments

The Supreme Court CANNOT DUCK Obama’s Birth Certificate Constitutional Crisis (albeit the media blackout on the issue). The messiah will NOT become President! This 90-minute blogradio program explains why:

http://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-is-obamas-birth-certificate-still.html

Posted by: Ted | Nov 25, 2008 10:51:48 AM

The Supreme Court CANNOT DUCK Obama’s Birth Certificate Constitutional Crisis (albeit the media blackout on the issue). The messiah will NOT become President! This 90-minute blogradio program explains why:

politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-is-obamas-birth-certificate-still.html

Posted by: Ted | Nov 25, 2008 10:52:15 AM

I am grateful for and therefore honor and revere the ImmigProf Blog for its years of work in defense of the human, civil, and legal rights of non-citizens. It seems to me that the issues presented daily on the blogs by Profs KJ and BH support the legal protections of "all persons" who are clearly covered by our nation's foundational documents.

The article above and many others concern themselves with preservation and protection of those foundational rights.

I suspect that Immig Prof's respect for First Amendment rights is the one reason that the Profs generously include xenophobic comments after their blog postings. That said, it appears to me that previous comments here are motivated by non-other that racial animousity for anyone who is not just like them.

Posted by: robert | Nov 26, 2008 8:08:53 AM

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