Monday, August 29, 2011

Motion in Limine Victory in S.F.

Francisco Ugarte writes: "I wanted to share with folks a recent written decision granting in part our Motion in Limine, which requested procedural protections for Respondents during their suppression hearing.   While we have filed many of these procedural motions, this is the first time I have seen a written decision on these issues.  In the decision, the Court applies longstanding criminal law procedural principles, which exist in criminal suppression hearings, to immigration suppression hearings.  Similarly, the Court found that while Matter of Barcenas holds that there is no “right to a suppression hearing,” Barcenas does not preclude immigration judges from ordering a hearing designed exclusively to adjudicate the suppression motion.  The only problem is that the judge still provided DHS with an opportunity to provide additional evidence of alienage of Respondents after Respondents made a prima facie case—which, in this case, could mean more than a year after the original motion to suppress was filed.  This could present due process problems (if the evidence was in the possession of DHS but not provided to Respondents until after they fully briefed the issues).  Regardless, I believe this decision can be helpful to others dealing with suppression motions.  I’d like to thank Mike Wishnie and the Yale Immigration Clinic for providing a sample motion, which was helpful in crafting and arguing these procedural law issues."

Francisco Ugarte
Immigration Attorney, Dolores Street Community Services
San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network | SFILEN
938 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA  94110
Cell:    (415) 571-3470
Fax:     (415) 282-2826

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