Thursday, July 06, 2006

Venue in Illegal Re-Entry Cases

United States v. Alberto Rodriguez-Rodriguez, No. 05-4786 (July 6, 2006): Mr. Rodriquez was deported back to Mexico. He illegally re-entered in Texas, where he was arrested by state police for speeding. He was then extradited to Wisconsin on a state charge, where he was later turned over to federal authorities. He argued that venue was proper in Texas (which gives fast-track sentences), not in Wisconsin (which does not).

The Court held that a defendant in this type of case is "found" in every district that he or she enters. The alien "makes himself a form of contraband: the offense occurs wherever he is. and in every district through which he passes." The defendant can be prosecuted in each district where he or she is "found."

The Court put to one side the question of when the statute of limitations begins to run for this offense.

As for the second issue, the Court re-iterated that Mr. Rodriquez had no right to a fast track sentence in the Western District of Wisconsin.