United States v. Mendoza-Lopez

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Mendoza-Lopez
LOCATION: Action Iron and Metal Company

DOCKET NO.: 85-2067
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 481 US 828 (1987)
ARGUED: Mar 03, 1987
DECIDED: May 26, 1987

Christopher J. Wright - on behalf of the Petitioner
Kathy Goudy - on behalf of the Respondent, appointed by this Court

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Mendoza-Lopez

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 03, 1987 in United States v. Mendoza-Lopez

William H. Rehnquist:

We will hear argument next in No. 85-2067, United States versus Jose Mendoza-Lopez and Angel Landeros-Quinones.

Mr. Wright, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Christopher J. Wright:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the question presented is whether defendants prosecuted under 8 USC 1326 for reentering the United States following a deportation may collaterally attack the deportation proceeding in the criminal prosecution.

The two respondents were arrested by agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in October, 1984, in Nebraska.

At an immigration hearing in Denver with eleven other aliens they were given a list of free legal services and advised that the proceeding could be delayed if they wished to contact counsel.

They waived their right to counsel.

The immigration judge questioned each alien at the hearing.

Respondents both admitted that they were citizens of Mexico, that they had entered the United States unlawfully, and that they were subject to deportation.

The immigration judge advised both respondents that they were eligible to apply for suspension of deportation because they had been in this country more than seven years.

The judge explained that to qualify for suspension of deportation an applicant must show that he is of good moral character and that severe harm would be suffered by a member of the applicant's immediate family if he were deported.

The judge also stated that the respondents could have five days to apply for suspension of deportation.

Both respondents decided not to apply for suspension of deportation.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Mr. Wright how effective is that information?

Doe the attorney general grant relief in many cases?

Christopher J. Wright:

No, suspension of deportation is discretionary matter.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Does he ever grant relief?

Christopher J. Wright:

Yes, he does, most commonly if indeed a spouse of the alien is an American citizen.

The immigration judge ordered that both respondents be deported.

He asked whether they wanted to appeal his order, whether they wanted to accept his order, or whether they wanted to reserve decision.

Respondents both accepted the order and waved their right to appeal.

They were deported to Mexico two days later.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Wright, what would have happened if one of them had said, yes, I think I would like to appeal?

Would they be deported nonetheless?

Or would they remain here pending the appeal?

Or what happens?

Christopher J. Wright:

They would remain here pending appeal.

One of the respondents asked whether or not they would be released on bond pending the appeal, and was told that there would have to be a proceeding to determine what the amount of the bond should be.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

So the person might have to remain in custody pending the appeal?

Christopher J. Wright:

That's right.

Both respondents were given forms at the border stating that they would be subject to felony prosecution if they returned without obtaining the attorney general's permission.