Thursday, December 28, 2006

U.S. v. Lee (9th Cir. - Dec. 27, 2006)

Sometimes one can figure out how an opinion's going to come out merely by reading the first sentence or paragraph -- by the way the author has deliberately framed the question.

So when one reads the first sentence of this opinion by Judge Trott, one might have a keen sense of how the rest of the opinion is going to go:

"This appeal raises the issue of whether a person arrested in American Samoa for allegedly committing federal crimes in American Samoa may be tried and convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii ('District Court')."

So one might well think that, upon reading this sentence, the conviction is going to be reversed. But you'd be wrong. Remember: This is Judge Trott. And it's a criminal case. It's going to take a lot more than this to reverse. Sure, the crime was entirely committed in American Samoa, and had nothing whatsoever to do with Hawaii. But that's nonetheless where the federal government shipped Lee for trial -- 2300 miles away. Which makes it the proper venue.

P.S. - Lee is not a nice guy. At all. Feel free to read the opinion to learn about his sweatshop, and enslavement of foreign workers, and more.