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Sanchez v. Sessions

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 27, 2018

JAIRO FERINO SANCHEZ, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent. ACLU OF MARYLAND; AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL; NATIONAL IMMIGRATION PROJECT OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD, Amici Supporting Petitioner.

          Argued: January 25, 2018

          On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

          ARGUED:

          Barry Dalin, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND FRANCIS KING CAREY SCHOOL OF LAW, Baltimore, Maryland, for Petitioner.

          Kohsei Ugumori, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent. Matthew E. Price, JENNER & BLOCK, LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus American Immigration Council.

         ON BRIEF:

          Maureen A. Sweeney, Supervising Attorney, Adilina Malavé, Third Year Law Student, Anne Brenner, Third Year Law Student, University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND FRANCIS KING CAREY SCHOOL OF LAW, Baltimore, Maryland, for Petitioner.

          Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Emily Anne Radford, Assistant Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Respondent.

          Sejal Zota, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION PROJECT OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD, Boston, Massachusetts, for Amicus National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. Deborah A. Jeon, Nicholas Steiner, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for Amicus ACLU of Maryland. Melissa Crow, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL, Washington, D.C., for Amicus American Immigration Council.

          Before MOTZ and DIAZ, Circuit Judges, and Robert J. CONRAD, Jr., United States District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, sitting by designation.

          DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ, Circuit Judge

         After questioning Jairo Ferino Sanchez and learning that he had entered the country illegally, state police officers detained and then transported him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). An Immigration Judge ("IJ"), in a decision affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA"), rejected Sanchez's motion to suppress the statements he made to the state officers and ICE, and ordered his voluntary departure. Sanchez now petitions for review. For the reasons that follow, we must deny that petition.

         I.

         A.

         On May 22, 2009, Maryland Transportation Authority Police ("MdTAP") Officer Acker stopped Jose Alberto Badillo Taylor ("Badillo") for a traffic violation. Badillo failed to produce a valid license and Officer Acker noticed that the car had exposed ignition wiring and lacked a steering column, indicating that perhaps it had been stolen. When Badillo explained that the car, a Nissan, belonged to a friend, Officer Acker directed Badillo to call the Nissan's owner, Juventino Tenorio Davila ("Tenorio"), to retrieve his car from the scene. At the time Tenorio received Badillo's call, he was traveling in an Acura with Sanchez and another passenger, Seltik Ferino Sanchez ("Ferino"). Sanchez agreed to drive Tenorio and Ferino to Badillo's location to retrieve the Nissan.

          When the three men arrived on the scene, Sanchez parked the Acura about twenty to thirty feet in front of the Nissan. Sanchez, Tenorio, and Ferino remained inside the Acura with the engine running. After approximately five minutes, Officer Acker approached the Acura, leaned inside the front passenger window, and asked the men whether they were "illegal or legal." Officer Acker repeated the question two or three times. The Officer later explained that because he believed the men had acted in a "suspicious" manner, when they refused to answer his questions, he spoke to them in an "authoritative" tone.

         According to Sanchez, the questioning made him "scared and nervous." Because he "felt pressured and intimidated, " he answered the Officer's question and admitted that he had entered the country illegally. At that point, Officer Acker stopped questioning the men and asked Sanchez to turn off the ignition and give him the keys. Sanchez complied. Upon the Officer's request, all three men produced identification cards. With the assistance of another MdTAP officer, Officer Acker then handcuffed the three men.

         MdTAP officers transported Sanchez, Tenorio, Ferino, and Badillo to the MdTAP station. At the station, MdTAP officers removed the handcuffs and placed the men in a small cell. After about 90 minutes, Officer Acker returned, re-handcuffed the men, and explained that he was taking them to the ICE facility.[1] In total, MdTAP officers detained Sanchez for approximately three-and-a-half hours.

          B.

         While in ICE custody, an ICE agent interviewed Sanchez, who again admitted that he had entered the United States illegally without inspection. The agent memorialized Sanchez's admissions to Officer Acker and ICE about his immigration status in a Form I- 213 (Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien). That form also identifies Sanchez as "a native and citizen of Mexico who entered the United States" in "February 2000 without inspection by an Immigration Officer."

         Based on the form, ICE instituted removal proceedings against Sanchez pursuant to Section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(1) (2006). Sanchez moved the IJ to suppress all evidence of his illegal entry, including the Form I-213. He maintained that the state police officers obtained this information in violation of his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.

         In support of his contentions, Sanchez provided affidavits from himself, Tenorio, Ferino, and Badillo. Sanchez also offered an affidavit from Major Stanford O'Neill Franklin, the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a former member of the Maryland State Police and MdTAP. In addition, the IJ heard testimony from Sanchez, Officer Acker, Major Franklin, and ICE's expert witness (a Maryland sheriff and former MdTAP officer).

         The IJ found that Sanchez "testified credibly in terms of what happened" during the May 2009 traffic stop. He also concluded that Officer Acker treated Sanchez "and his friends . . . pretty much in the manner" Sanchez described, in that Officer Acker inquired "about who they are, where they are from, " and asked them "to produce identification." But the IJ was not persuaded that the state officers "intimidated and frightened" Sanchez into giving "up information regarding his Immigration status." The IJ therefore concluded that the record lacked "'specific and detailed statements from which [the IJ] could find evidence" that the MdTAP officers had engaged in "coercion or duress." As a result, the IJ concluded that Sanchez had "failed to demonstrate any violation of the Fifth Amendment that can provide the basis for suppression of evidence." The IJ also found that even if "the MdTAP officers did violate [Sanchez's] Fourth Amendment rights, the presumed violation" was not "egregious."

         On appeal before the BIA, Sanchez argued that the IJ applied the incorrect legal standard to his Fourth Amendment claim. The IJ had determined not to suppress Sanchez's statements because any violation of Sanchez's Fourth Amendment right was not "egregious" under INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), and Yanez-Marquez v. Lynch, 789 F.3d 434 (4th Cir. 2015). Sanchez claimed that the IJ should have instead applied "the full exclusionary rule" and that under that standard, the IJ should have suppressed his statements. Alternatively, Sanchez maintained that, contrary to the IJ's conclusion, he had "suffered an egregious violation of ...


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