Wednesday, June 06, 2007

U.S. v. Narvaez-Gomez (9th Cir. - June 6, 2007)

This has nothing to do with the actual opinion. But I couldn't help noticing how Narvaez-Gomez initially gets detained -- which eventually leads to his being sentenced to eight years in prison for being a deported alien found in the United States.

The police initially detain Narvaez-Gomez because he's smoking in a public park (in San Diego, again) that apparently doesn't allow smoking. Which I guess is indeed an infraction. Then, during that detention, the police ask him a bunch of guestions about his legal status, call in the Border Patrol, and he eventually gets busted for the biggie.

All of which is entirely legal. Though let me ask you this: Doesn't it seem like the detention for smoking was largely pretext? Does it surprise you that someone like Narvaez-Gomez is detained for that offense, and then heavily questioned, whereas others -- I fully imagine -- engaged in the same offense are ignored?

Maybe they bust everyone in San Diego who smokes in a public park. Though I've lived here for over a decade and haven't ever seen it happen.

But they detain Narvaez-Gomez for it. Which doesn't entirely surprise me.