Tuesday, May 08, 2007

U.S. v. C.M. (9th Cir. - May 8, 2007)

The Ninth Circuit's been on a tear this week. They've issued more published opinions in the last two days than in the rest of the month combined. Glad to know we're getting our money's worth.

For a study in contrasts, both on the merits and as a matter of style, check out this opinion. Judge Ferguson writes the majority opinion, and the first several sentences provide an accurate tenor of the remainder:

"Title 18 U.S.C. § 5033 of the Juvenile Delinquency Act (“JDA”) prescribes the process due to a juvenile who isplaced in federal custody. The arresting officer must immediately advise the juvenile of his or her rights; immediately advise the juvenile’s parents, guardian, or custodian of the juvenile’s rights; comply with any request by the juvenile to speak with his or her parents or a parental surrogate; and bring the juvenile before a magistrate “forthwith.” None of these requirements were met in this case — C. M. was not advised of his rights until six hours after his arrest; neither his parents, nor any individual who could act in loco parentis, were notified of C. M.’s rights; C. M.’s repeated requests to speak with a representative of his consulate went unheeded; and C. M. was locked in a holding cell for nearly ten hours before being brought before a magistrate. We find that the government violated every requirement of 18 U.S.C. § 5033, and that these violations were not harmless."

Judge Callahan authors a dissent, the tenor of which may also accurately be discerned from the first several sentences:

"I question whether the government agents violated 18 U.S.C. § 5033 of the Juvenile Delinquency Act (“JDA”) in their processing of C.M. in as many ways as the majority states, but I agree with the majority’s implicit determination that the alleged violations did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. See United States v. D.L., 453 F.3d 1115, 1125 (9th Cir. 2006). I disagree, however, with the majority’s determination that the alleged violations, were prejudicial and with its directions that the juvenile information must be dismissed."

Not too surprising. Still, a study in contrasts.