US Supreme Court to hear convicted quadruple killer's appeal

Arturo Kim
March 21, 2019

The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled previous year that he should be re-sentenced.

During oral arguments in October, the Trump administration argued that given the limited money and manpower available, it was almost impossible for the federal government to immediately detain every immigrant upon their release from custody.

Tuesday's case arose when green card holders Mony Preap and Bassam Yusuf Khoury were arrested by federal immigration authorities years after they served criminal sentences for drug convictions.

Alito allowed that there could be constitutional issues with the law but that the plaintiffs in the case had not raised them.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider Virginia's plea to reinstate the life-without-parole sentence of a man who as a teenager participated in sniper shootings that terrorized the Washington, D.C., region in 2002.

"For two terms in a row now, the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration detention statutes, allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge", Wang said in a statement.

In this case, two permanent residents of the U.S. had filed class actions over their arrest and detention without bond hearings by immigration authorities years after they had served criminal sentences and been released.

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"So if they can't catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way", Trump said at a White House press event with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.

The court's four more liberal justices dissented, and Justice Stephen Breyer took the unusual step of reading an oral dissent from the bench.

Writing for the conservative majority, Justice Samuel Alito, said immigration law mandates the detention of "deportable criminal aliens" even if it is years later.

"It runs the gravest risk of depriving those whom the government has detained of one of the oldest and most important of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms", Breyer wrote.

Some presidential candidates - including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Beto O'Rourke - have expressed support for expanding the Supreme Court beyond nine justices.

Alito said the challengers' assertion that immigrants had to be detained within 24 hours of ending a prison sentence is "especially hard to swallow".

Alito noted that the court repeatedly has said in the past that "an official's crucial duties are better carried out late than never", Reuters reported. Federal law mandates detention for certain aliens while awaiting deportation proceedings, he said. The administration argued, as the Obama administration did, that those affected by the law aren't entitled to a hearing where they can argue for their release, regardless of whether they are arrested immediately after being released from custody or not.

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