Nude dancing is not necessarily a crime of “moral turpitude” warranting deportation, a divided Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, according to Reuters. A Justice Department spokesman said the government is reviewing the ruling.
Wednesday’s 2-1 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is a defeat for the federal government and a victory for Victor Ocegueda Nunez, who was seeking to avoid being sent back to his native Mexico. [...]
According to the ruling, the government sought to deport Ocegueda, who had entered the country illegally in 1993, after he was convicted over a 10-year period of what it called two crimes of moral turpitude: petty theft and indecent exposure.
A federal immigration judge ordered Ocegueda’s removal, and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed. Ocegueda appealed, saying this would cause extreme hardship for his wife and three children, all of whom are U.S. citizens.
Writing for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that while California’s indecent exposure law punishes conduct that “offends the sensibilities of many, and perhaps most people,” it does not “categorically” meet the federal standard for moral turpitude.
More from Reuters.
Prosecutors Nicholas Marsh and Edward Sullivan were quietly notified of their removal Thursday, when the Justice Department urged the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to release former Alaska state representatives Victor Kohring and Peter Kott and remand their cases to the district court, according to The Post.
Kott, a former House speaker, and Kohring, of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, were convicted on corruption charges in 2007. The District Court sentenced Kott to a 72-month prison term in December 2007. It sentenced Kohring to a 42-month term in May 2008.
Lawyers inside and outside of the Justice Department have complained that William Welch II or principal deputy Brenda Morris – who oversaw the Alaska cases and the bungled case of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) – have not been removed, The Post said.
DOJ sources told The Post that they are worried that lower-level prosecutors are being sacrificed by new Obama DOJ appointees who use more rigorous standards on evidence-sharing procedures than were in place during the Bush administration.
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The Justice Department urged the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today to release former Alaska state representatives Victor Kohring and Peter Kott and remand their cases to the district court, saying Justice Department lawyers withheld favorable evidence from the defense. Read the Anchorage Daily News story here.
Kott, a former House speaker, and Kohring, of Sarah Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, were convicted on corruption charges in 2007. The District Court sentenced Kott to a 72-month prison term in December 2007. It sentenced Kohring to a 42-month term in May 2008.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement:
“After a careful review of these cases, I have determined that it appears that the Department did not provide information that should have been disclosed to the defense. Department of Justice prosecutors work hard every day and perform a great service for the American people. But the Department’s mission is to do justice, not just win cases, and when we make mistakes, it is our duty to admit and correct those mistakes. We are committed to doing that.”
The U.S. District Court in D.C. threw out the guilty verdict of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) because DOJ prosecutors didn’t turn over documents requested by the defense.
Following the Stevens fiasco, Justice Department officials pledged to provide more training to DOJ lawyers on their obligations, and launched a working group to review how DOJ prosecutors handle evidence.
“The Criminal Division must ensure that defendants receive all appropriate discovery materials, and today’s action demonstrates that commitment to this responsibility,” Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer said in today’s statement. “We will continue regular discovery training for all Criminal Division prosecutors to make certain that they perform their duties in adherence to the highest ethical standards.”