Sunday, December 2, 2012

Practice Advisory: Oliva-Ramos v. Attorney General (Third Circuit suppression case)

Here is a practice advisory prepared by the NYU Immigration Law Clinic on the Third Circuit’s groundbreaking decision in Oliva-Ramos v. Attorney General. In the case, the Third Circuit held that evidence obtained through “egregious” or “widespread” constitutional violations may be suppressed in immigration proceedings. The advisory takes an in-depth look at the court’s analysis and concludes with a series of practice tips and resources that will be helpful to attorneys representing clients who have fallen victim to unconstitutional immigration enforcement practices.

In Oliva-Ramos v. Attorney General, 694 F.3d 259 (3d Cir. 2012), the Third Circuit issued a landmark decision holding that evidence obtained through certain types of constitutional violations may not be used in removal proceedings. This decision recognizes the application of the “exclusionary rule” (requiring the suppression of evidence) in some removal proceedings. While the exclusionary rule generally does not apply in immigration cases, Oliva-Ramos recognized that Supreme Court precedent expressly contemplates the suppression of evidence acquired through “egregious” or “widespread” violations of immigrants’ constitutional rights. The court articulated a standard for assessing whether Fourth Amendment violations are “egregious” or “widespread,” such that suppression is necessary to protect immigrants’ rights and deter unconstitutional conduct in the future. 

The practice advisory is divided into several parts. First, the practice advisory provides a brief overview of the exclusionary rule and its applicability in the immigration context. Second, it summarizes the factual background of the Oliva-Ramos case. Third, the advisory identifies and analyzes the various holdings in the decision. To conclude, the advisory provides practice tips for immigration practitioners filing motions to suppress in immigration court or litigating suppression-related issues on appeal.


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