case law update

First Circuit: Arrest Without RAS Insufficient to Suppress Evidence in Removal Proceeding

The First Circuit recently reaffirmed that lack of reasonable suspicion to arrest a person was insufficient to suppress evidence arising from that arrest in an immigration proceeding.  

Gustavo Corado-Arriaza is a native and citizen of Guatemala, who entered the United States on a B-2, “visitor for pleasure,” visa in June 2005, that expired in December 2005. Corado-Arriaza overstayed that visa and resided in the United States until he was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in 2013.

Corado-Arriaza was working as a cook in a restaurant in Wellesley, Massachusetts on February 27, 2013, when his manager asked him for help. Corado-Arriaza followed the manager into a boiler room, where there were four men dressed in khakis and boots. The manager told Corado- Arriaza that the men wanted to talk, and left. Two of the men then moved in front of the door to block Corado-Arriaza’s exit.

The men identified themselves as ICE agents and asked, “Are you Gustavo Gomez?” showing Corrado-Arriaza some papers that he believed to be a warrant, that included a photo of a man that Corrado-Arriaza later told an immigration judge, “was obviously not me.” Corrado-Arriaza then told the agent that he was not Gustavo Gomez, but rather Gustavo Corado-Arriaza. Upon request, Corado-Arriaza showed the agents his Guatemalan driver’s license.

The agents then handcuffed Corado-Arriaza and questioned him about topics such as his date of birth and the names of his children. One agent verbalized his belief, “It’s not a match.” The agents then searched Corado-Arriaza’s pockets and his wallet, while Corado-Arriaza continued telling them he was not the man they were looking for.

The agents asked Corrado-Arriaza whether he had a “green card,” and Corado-Arriaza said, “no.” The agents subsequently placed the handcuffed Corado-Arriaza into the back of their vehicle and told Corado-Arriaza that he was being arrested for overstaying his visa. That same day, the Department of Homeland Security issued Corado-Arriaza with a Notice to Appeal that charged him with removability for overstaying his B-2 visa.

During the hearing process before an immigration judge, Corado-Arriaza filed a motion to suppress all evidence obtained as the fruit of his seizure, arrest, and detention by ICE agents on February 27, 2013. The immigration judge denied the motion, and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed that denial. Corado-Arriaza then petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for review of that BIA decision.

The appeals court began its analysis citing a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court plurality opinion holding that the exclusionary rule generally does not apply in removal proceedings. Under that holding, to suppress evidence in a removal proceeding, the defending person “must have established that the search and seizure at issue amounted to an egregious violation of the Fourth Amendment that so transgressed notions of fundamental fairness and undermined the probative value of the evidence obtained as to constitute a Fifth Amendment violation of the right to due process.”

The First Circuit, “[l]ike the BIA,” chose to “bypass the question of whether there was any Fourth Amendment violation” in Corado-Arriaza’s matter” because “it is plain from the totality of the circumstances that the conduct [in Corado-Arriaza’s matter] fell short.”

After dismissing Corado-Arriaza’s secondary arguments in short-order, the court of appeals thus denied his petition for review.

Read the full case: Corado-Arriaza v. Lynch


This case law update was written by James P. Heelan, associate attorney, Shaw Bransford & Roth, PC.

For thirty years, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. has provided superior representation on a wide range of federal employment law issues, from representing federal employees nationwide in administrative investigations, disciplinary and performance actions, and Bivens lawsuits, to handling security clearance adjudications and employment discrimination cases.

Posted in Case Law Update

Tags: Fourth Amendment, reasonable suspicion, fourth amendment right, fourth amendment violation


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