Immigration

Judge Calls Out U.S. Attorney for Deporting Crime Witness

The witness, of course, might have helped the defense

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The 9th Circuit slammed the U.S. attorney in San Diego on Friday for deporting a possible witness who could have undermined an alien-smuggling case.

Border Patrol agents arrested Jonathan Leal-Del Carmen in 2010 with a group of suspected illegal migrants. Three members of the group fingered him as the leader, though one woman, Ana Maria Garcia-Garcia, said several times that he was not.

The government secured the testimony of the witnesses against Leal-Del Carmen, but deported Garcia-Garcia before the suspect's arraignment.

Later, Leal-Del Carmen's attorney forced the government to turn over the videotapes of the witnesses, and only then did he discover the possibly exculpatory testimony of Garcia-Garcia.

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