Tuesday, December 07, 2010

U.S. v. Lopez-Velasquez (9th Cir. - Dec. 7, 2010)

You'd think it was an easy case.

Eduardo Lopez-Velasquez gets deported in 1994 at a group proceeding in which he wasn't advised of the potential availability of discretionary relief from deportation.  He was married to a U.S. citizen at the time, and had two young U.S. citizen children, so it was at least possible that he was eligible for such relief.  Then, in 2006, he gets indicted for illegal reentry after being deported.  The question is whether the prior failure to advise him of his rights meant that the indictment should be quashed.

The answer seems pretty clear.  The district court said:  "Yes."  The case then went up to the Ninth Circuit.  Which also said "Yes."  Without dissent.

So there you have it.  A pretty easy case, huh?

Yep.  Totally.  Mind you, the case gets taken en banc.  But even there, the vote's unanimous.  11-0.

The other way.

It's pretty rare for the en banc panel to be unanimous.  I'm sure that there are other cases in which that's happened when the district court and panel below were unanimously the other way.  But I'm confident it's darn rare.

But we get to see it today.