Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yale Law Making Great Progress on Suppression Cases in Immigration Court

Yale Law School's clinic is working hard and making great progress in challenging dubious ICE raids in Fair Haven, CT during June 2007.  In 16 cases arising from the raid, Immigration Judge Michael Straus agreed to hold suppression hearings to find out what happened and let Yale Law School clinic members develop evidence about illegal searches and seizures.

At first, Judge Straus only allowed 11 of the 16 to have suppression hearings but on October 20, 2008, Judge Straus changed his mind and allowed all 16 to participate in suppression hearings.

In a very interesting move, the immigrants' lawyers filed a motion in limine to lay out the evidence to be gathered and to try to carve out protections in case the United States Attorney may later try to use testimony from the suppression hearing in a criminal prosecution.  In a very interesting step, the Yale Law attorneys and ICE counsel agreed to contact the United States Attorney's office to see whether they could obtain testimonial immunity for the suppression hearings.

The New Haven Independent wrote a news article about these developments, noting that for the Yale Law team, participants include attorneys Mike Wishnie, Hope Metcalf, and Chris Lasch along with law student Anant Saraswat.  For ICE counsel, there was John Marley and Leigh Mapplebeck.  (There are probably many more people working for the Yale Law team and ICE counsel that were not mentioned in the news article.)

The approach of taking in limine motions and seeking testimonial immunity from the United States Attorney's office is a logical one -- immigration judges around the country should consider following the same approach.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Raping Immigration Detainee While An ICE Agent

In April 2008, a man pled guilty to raping a Jamaican woman while he worked as an ICE agent and was responsible for moving the woman between detention centers.  According to news reports, Wilfredo Vazquez, 35, sexually assaulted a 39-year-old Jamaican mother of two in his home.  ICE fired Mr. Vazquez from his job.

There are many questions about whether ICE violates Fourth Amendment rights in a widespread manner when it conducts raids.  This news story raises more questions about whether ICE has a reliable system to safeguard people's rights -- including detainees in ICE custody.  Everyone would agree that detainees have a right to be free from sexual assaults from ICE agents.