Thursday, April 02, 2009

Defendant "Found" By ICE Detainer After State Arrest

US v. Sosa-Carabantes: Sosa-Carabantes was arrested on state charges in North Carolina after illegally reentering the United States. While in state custody, ICE placed a detainer on him via a local officer who had been certified to screen state arrestees for immigration violations. Sosa-Carabantes eventually was convicted and sentenced on the state charge. He was then indicted for illegal reentry in federal court, to which he pleaded guilty. At sentencing, the parties disagreed on whether Sosa-Carabantes's state conviction should figure in the calculation of his criminal history score under the Guidelines. Sosa-Carabantes argued that because he was "found" by ICE prior to the state sentence being imposed, it should not be counted. The district court disagreed and sentenced Sosa-Carabantes to 46 months in prison.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit vacated Sosa-Carabantes's sentence. The court concluded that the crucial issue was ICE found Sosa-Carabantes. It noted that on the day Sosa-Carabantes was arrested, ICE lodged a detainer with the local authorities that identified him by name, birth date, place of birth, and A-file number. Thus, he was "found" at that point. The court turned away the Government's argument that Sosa-Carabantes could not be found before a full investigation had been completed.

Congrats to the Defender office in WDNC for the win!

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