Friday, August 17, 2007

Can Judicial Hands Truly Be Tied In A Common Law System?

It's enough to make me go Napoleonic: 'Court says it's unjust but deports man who lived with underage girl'

So, explain this to me, a court case which defined a particular felony as inherently abusive - to be clear, from my reading of this article, we're talking about case law as applied to statutory interpretation - requires a 26-year-old legal immigrant be removed to Mexico?

How's that?

The headlines about sex with an underage girl are a bit mislead. This was a consenual relationship between a 20 year old and a 16 year old - hardly an uncommon difference in age, nor uncommon in the particular ages generally.

Um, change it? No? Anyone?

Estrada entered the United States in 1992 at age 12 and became a legal permanent resident six years later. He said his girlfriend and her friends told him she was 18 when they met in June 2001, and he did not learn her true age until six months later. The court said she was either 15 or 16 when they met, but Ahmad said the case record showed that she was 16.

They started living together at his parents' home, then found a place of their own, where Estrada supported her and their newborn son by working as many as 60 hours a week at grocery stores, Ahmad said. He said the couple broke up after Estrada was prosecuted, and the child lives with Estrada's parents.

After being charged by local prosecutors in June 2004, Estrada pleaded guilty to four counts of illegal sexual activity with a minor and was sentenced to a year in jail. The federal government moved to deport him after his release.

In upholding his deportation, the appeals court cited a federal law that requires deportation for any noncitizen convicted of an aggravated felony, a category that includes sexual abuse of a minor.

Last year's precedent-setting ruling, which involved a 32-year-old man who picked up a 17-year-old girl and paid her for sex, defined the felony for which Estrada was sentenced as inherently abusive, the court said.
'Cause these situations are totally analogous. I'd like to know *why* he was prosecuted, but either way . . . I guess if this guy stays in the U.S., the terrorists win.

But, rest easier, the court might convene a larger panel to reconsider the issue! Yeah! Let's have a panel. With some experts. Too bad for this dude, though.

No comments: