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11-50094

11-50094

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Published by: arogers8239 on Sep 17, 2012
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FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
 
U
NITED
S
TATES OF
A
MERICA
,No. 11-50094
Plaintiff-Appellee,
D.C. No.v.
3:10-cr-01372-W-1J
ONATHAN
L
EAL
-D
EL
C
ARMEN
,OPINION
 Defendant-Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Courtfor the Southern District of CaliforniaThomas J. Whelan, Senior District Judge, PresidingArgued and SubmittedJanuary 11, 2012—Pasadena, CaliforniaFiled September 14, 2012Before: Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Stephen Reinhardt andWilliam A. Fletcher, Circuit Judges.Opinion by Chief Judge Kozinski
11237
 
COUNSEL
Harini P. Raghupathi, Federal Defenders of San Diego, SanDiego, California, for the defendant-appellant.Laura E. Duffy, United States Attorney, and Bruce R. Castet-ter and David P. Curnow (argued), Assistant United StatesAttorneys, San Diego, California, for the plaintiff-appellee.
OPINION
KOZINSKI, Chief Judge:May the government deport an illegal alien who can pro-vide exculpatory evidence for a criminal defendant beforecounsel for that defendant has even been appointed? Webelieve the answer is self-evident, as the government recog-nized in an earlier case where it moved to vacate a convictionafter it deported witnesses whose testimony would haveexculpated defendant.
See United States
v.
 Ramirez-Lopez
,315 F.3d 1143 (9th Cir. 2003),
withdrawn by United States
v.
 Ramirez-Lopez
, 327 F.3d 829 (9th Cir. 2003); Joint Motion toRemand Case to the District Court for the Limited Purpose of Dismissing the Indictment (Feb. 5, 2003);
see also
HenryWeinstein,
 Appeal Lost, Yet Freedom Won
, L.A. Times, Apr.23, 2003, at B1. We had assumed, following
 Ramirez-Lopez
,that the government would refrain from putting aliens whocould provide exculpatory evidence beyond the reach of thecourt and defense counsel. But whatever wisdom the UnitedStates Attorney for the Southern District of California gainedin
 Ramirez-Lopez
appears to have applied to that case and thatdefendant only. We change that today.
I. FACTS
On March 25, 2010, border patrol agents discovered agroup of twelve illegal aliens hiding in the thick brush in
11241U
NITED
S
TATES
v. L
EAL
-D
EL
C
ARMEN
 
Smith Canyon, an area along the United States–Mexico bor-der that is unprotected by a fence. The agents determined theywere Mexican nationals present in the United States withoutpermission and took them into custody. Later that day, theagents picked up two sets of footprints that they recognizedfrom Smith Canyon. They followed the tracks and eventuallyfound Jonathan Leal-Del Carmen and Domingo Gomez-Aguilar. The agents arrested them on suspicion of alien smug-gling.That night, border patrol agents interviewed at least four of the aliens about Leal-Del Carmen and Gomez-Aguilar. One of them, Ana Maria Garcia-Garcia, identified Leal-Del Carmenin a photospread and said she had first seen him about twodays earlier. When Agent Tomas Macias Jr. asked if Leal-DelCarmen gave orders to the rest of the group, she answered,“No, he didn’t give orders.” After the officer said “Pardonme?,” she again stated, “He did not give orders.” When theofficer asked a third time “No?,” she answered “No.”
1
 Three others identified Leal-Del Carmen as a leader or assomeone with whom they made travel arrangements. Thegovernment kept these three as material witnesses
2
but
1
Macias
: Oh, but he, number 5 [Leal-Del Carmen], was he infront of the group, was he behind, did he give orders, what didhe do?
Garcia:
No, he didn’t give orders.
Macias:
Pardon me?
Garcia:
He did not give orders.
Macias:
No?
Garcia:
No.
Macias:
Who, who gave orders, the orders?
Garcia:
It is that I don’t know.
2
The government’s three witnesses later moved to have their testimonytaken by deposition because their continued detention in the United Statespending Leal-Del Carmen’s trial was a hardship for their families. A mag-istrate judge granted the motion as to two of the witnesses, whose swornand cross-examined testimony was presented to the jury by videotape. Oneremained and testified in person at trial.
11242U
NITED
S
TATES
v. L
EAL
-D
EL
C
ARMEN

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