Thursday, June 11, 2015

U.S. v. Alcantara-Castillo (9th Cir. - June 11, 2015)

The majority thinks the AUSA improperly vouched for the border agent, so reverses the conviction.  The dissent thinks not.

Personally, I think that the evidence of prejudice is fairly low.  I believe Judge Wardlaw when she says that the border agent here had -- and I think this is unusual -- fairly substantial credibility problems.  But at least he had a story that made some sense.  I guess it's possible that a jury could believe the defendant's story that he "accidentally" crossed the heavily-patrolled U.S.-Mexico border in a methamphetamine-induced haze.  I gotta admit that it's not an especially good story, however.

And the fact that this guy had previously been convicted four times for illegal reentry doesn't help him either.

My money's on the dude being convicted at retrial.  Even without vouching.

And I'd give big odds to anyone who wanted to take that action.