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July 22, 2002


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, United States District Judge.


Juan Carlos Adame-Salgado is charged under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a) with illegally re-entering the United States after having previously been deported as an aggravated felon. He has moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that his due process rights were violated in connection with the deportation proceedings that form the underlying basis for the current charge. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion. For the reasons set forth below, Adame-Salgado's motion to dismiss is denied.

The deportation proceedings

On March 2, 1995, Adame-Salgado pled guilty in Illinois state court to possession of a stolen motor vehicle and received a three year prison sentence. On March 20, 1995, he pled guilty in state court to attempted murder and two counts of armed robbery and received a six year prison sentence.

On April 9, 1997 (again by video conference), Adame-Salgado stated that he did not have counsel. Asked whether he was "prepared to speak for [him]self," he replied in the affirmative. Govt. Ex. 5, p.6. The immigration judge described in summary form how the case would proceed. After doing so, the judge said the following:

At the end, I'll have to enter a decision in your case. My decision will not be final, unless you accept it and the Government accepts it. Whoever does not accept it the decision may take an appeal to a higher court. The court above this court is called the Board of Immigration Appeals. If this Court were to rule against you, then you would have a right to take a further appeal to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Southern [sic] Circuit, which governs the State of Illinois, we are housed, and where we are seated today.

Id., p. 7. The judge proceeded to read the allegations against Adame-Salgado, obtaining his response to each allegation. The allegations included that Adame-Salgado was not a United States citizen or national (Adame-Salgado admitted this but said he was a "resident"); that he was a citizen or national of Mexico (he admitted that he was a native of Mexico but not a citizen); that he had entered the United States (he admitted this); that his "status was adjusted to an immigrant on October 25th, 1989" (he denied this); that he was convicted on March 2, 1995 for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and on March 20, 1995 for attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, and aggravated battery (he admitted this); that he had been sentenced to six years in prison (he admitted this); and that the crimes did not arise from a single act (he admitted this). Id., pp. 8-10. The judge then read Adame-Salgado the charges against him: that he had been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising from a single scheme of misconduct, and that he had been convicted of an aggravated felony consisting of a crime of violence. Adams-Salgado appears to have admitted that this was so, but he denied that it was grounds for deportation. Id., pp. 11-13.

The following exchange then occurred:

Q: Mr. Adame, if it were necessary for me to order you deported, to what country would you wish to be sent?
A: I really don't know, because I don't have no family back in Mexico. All of my family is here.

Q: All right. Is there any reason why you cannot go to Mexico?

A: Well, Your Honor, I spent most of my life here. I have gotten used to the culture, the ways of the States, and I have my family here. And I really don't see why I need to go back just because I made a mistake. It doesn't mean I have to be [indiscernible].
Q: All right. Mr. Adame, the law permits me to give you a chance to designate a country, if you wish to do so. You don't have to. Do you want to designate a country?

A: I don't, Your Honor.

Id., p. 13.*fn1 When asked whether there was any reason he could not return to Mexico, Adame-Salgado said: "I don't know where to start and where to begin, if I was to go back. I have no — I told you my family [is] here, and if I do have family over there I don't know them. And I thought I should be given another chance, or at least given—." (At this point it appears that the judge cut off Adame-Salgado). Id., p. 14.

The hearing proceeded, with the INS offering documentary evidence supporting the allegations in the charges. Id., pp. 15-20. After hearing a final plea from Adame-Salgado, the judge found against him on both charges and ordered him deported to Mexico. Id., p.21; see also ...

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