United States v. Valenzuela-Espinoza

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 12-28-2011
  • Case #: 10-10060
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge B. Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judges Reinhardt and Tashima
  • Full Text Opinion

The McNabb-Mallory Rule is an important procedural safeguard and necessary to provide a remedy for violations of Fed. R. Crim. Pro. 5(a). Any delay in presentment to a magistrate must be reasonable and necessary.

On March 5, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents arrested Julio Valenzuela-Espinosa at approximately 11:15 a.m. after admitting he was a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally. ICE agents received a warrant to search the house where they found Valenzuela at 4:00 p.m. Valenzuela was brought to the ICE station at 5:00 p.m., questioned at 7:32 p.m., and finally requested an attorney at 7:50 p.m. He was not presented to a magistrate until 2:00 p.m. the next day. Valenzuela was convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute. The issue contended is whether statements made by Valenzuela should be suppressed under the McNabb-Mallory Rule. The rule states that an arrested person’s confession is inadmissible if given after an unreasonable delay in bringing them before a judge. This rule was designed to give a remedy for violations of Fed. R. Crim. Pro. 5(a), which requires that an arrested person be presented to a magistrate judge without unnecessary delay. To further guide the inquiry, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501(c), which states that statements made within six hours after an arrest cannot be excluded solely in the basis of a delay in presentment. The Ninth Circuit found the delay in presentment unreasonable as Valenzuela was arrested just 10 miles from the nearest magistrate and there were a number of agents available at the home to transport him to the magistrate. Also, the Court found that there was no reasonable or necessary delay in presenting Valenzuela to the magistrate. The Government’s argument that the 11:15 a.m. arrest was after the 10:30 a.m. paperwork filing deadline for the 2:00 p.m. arraignment fails, as an internal policy cannot trump federal statute and criminal procedure. VACATED and REMANDED.

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