AerospaceFan
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Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:16 am

The National Immigration Law Center, a pro-illegals group, has concocted a bunch of tips for illegals on how to avoid being arrested. Yeah, who needs foreign enemies when we have groups like this, right?

Here's my question: Isn't helping illegals a form of aiding and abetting? If not, why not?

Please see, for example:

http://www.nilc.org/ce/nilc/imm_enfrcmt_home&work_rts_0704.pdf

Note particularly, for example, the part where they say to stay at a place for which there is no record in order to avoid questioning by immigration authorities.

I do realize that the NILC's defense could be that they have no intent to aid or abet, and that their tips are general and not aimed at illegals in particular. But -- come on! None of us exactly fell off the turnip truck!

I wonder if the District Attorney will prosecute. Relatedly, I wonder if, tomorrow, the sun will rise in the west and Paris Hilton will develop the cure for cancer.

[Edited 2006-04-29 17:19:23]
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RichardPrice
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:18 am

Im not a lawyer at all, but a couple of things come to mind, aiding and abetting being one of them, perverting the course of justice being another. Wierd legal position for someone to put themselves in.
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:20 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 1):
Im not a lawyer at all, but a couple of things come to mind, aiding and abetting being one of them, perverting the course of justice being another. Wierd legal position for someone to put themselves in.

Another possible concept comes to mind: Obstruction of justice.
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ManuCH
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:52 am

I'm absolutely not pro-illegal immigrants, but what I've read in that PDF is maybe morally questionable, but doesn't look illegal to me. Everything written in there should be known to everyone with some common sense.

Don't get me wrong, I really didn't like that PDF when reading it, but since this is turning into a legal thread, and not into an "illegal immigrants, yes or no" thread, let's keep legal: what could be done to remove the PDF from that site? Is it breaking any laws?

-Manuel
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:57 am

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 3):
I'm absolutely not pro-illegal immigrants, but what I've read in that PDF is maybe morally questionable, but doesn't look illegal to me. Everything written in there should be known to everyone with some common sense.

Well, what if the site had said that if your employer has been investigated for any other crime, such as embezzlement (and you might be questioned about it presumably because you might be involved) you should lay low, by staying incognito, and here's how? That sounds to me to be very close to aiding and abetting. In such case, would the site's operator be saved from liability merely because the name of the goup isn't the "National Creative Accounting Defense Committee"? Certainly, the "National Thievery Law Center" would be too much, but, query, whether the effect is really the same. In many instances, substance does control over form, after all.

[Edited 2006-04-29 18:03:42]
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Cadet57
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:14 am

I espically like "What Should I do If Immigration Comes to My Workplace?"

Arent all those things they have listed only apply when under arrest? Or is it once we're dealing with immigration we have a whole new ball game?
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:21 am

Maybe I'm incredibly obtuse, but to me, the NILC seems to treat violation of our national sovereignty as a non-crime. As in, "You 'might' have broken the immigration laws. Wink-wink, nod-nod. Well, la-di-da. Here's how to avoid having to deal with the federales."

Hypothetical: I would like to barge in to each of the personal homes of the bleeding hearts at the NILC, set up my computer, bring my fridge and all my other personal stuff, demand that they subsidize me, and tell them that from now on, I can stay. Oh, and I want them to pay for schooling my kids, not to mention my medical care.

Also, I take it that when the cops come, they would let me do the things they tell their readers to do on their very own Website.

I wonder if they would. Hmm. I wonder.

[Edited 2006-04-29 18:27:58]
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:43 am

Reading the above-linked document a second time, I've noticed that the fifth checkmarked point on the first page states, in relevant part, as follows:

"If the warrant the Immigration officer shows you looks valid, you should go outside to talk to the officer. You have the right not to let the officer enter your house. This is especially important if you live with other people who may have immigration problems, because once you allow the officer into your house, he can ask questions of anyone else who is there, too."

So -- let me get this straight. If there is a valid warrant -- let's say to search your house -- you nonetheless "have the right" not to let the officer serving it enter it?

Huh?

Am I living in America or some kind of bizarro world?

It gets worse. On the second page, the second paragraph begins, "ANOTHER WAY [sic] an immigration [sic] officer can enter your home legally (besides if he has a valid warrant) is if you give the officer permission to enter".

So, which is it? Can he enter with a valid warrant or not? Or are you supposed to make him talk to an immigration attorney first?

Hey, how's this for another puzzler: Do you think that people who are here illegally from countries inimical to our interests, and who want to conceal themselves from the law, can access the NILC site? Or learn from its "helpful tips"? It would seem so.

I wonder how the people who run such Websites can sleep well at night, knowing that their "helpful tips" are accessible to anyone in the world, for whatever reason or cause.

[Edited 2006-04-29 22:48:31]
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57AZ
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Mon May 01, 2006 4:39 pm

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 3):
what could be done to remove the PDF from that site? Is it breaking any laws?

That would depend on your state law and the prosecutor's office and bar association. Practicing law without a license is prohibited in every state and some states have laws that define who may or may not give legal advice. As a court employee in Arizona, I am prohibited from giving legal advice by state law.

As for the warrant and interrogation issues, they may certainly enter without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the person or persons involved have committed a criminal act for the purposes of a reasonable search. If the warrant is valid and you refuse to admit them, you are possibly committing an additional criminal act (interfering with a court order/criminal investigation/obstruction of justice depending on the local laws). I would also note that plenty of illegals are picked up by local law enforcement for violations and then transferred to INS for adjudication. You can refuse to tell the officers your legal status or country of origin but if you don't tell them, you're going to be detained until the truth is told.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Mon May 01, 2006 7:15 pm

Very interesting, 57AZ.

As far as removing the possibly offending Web page, defenders of the NILC will claim that prior restraint is disfavored under considerations of the First Amendment. However, prior restraint is not entirely prohibited. One could not, for example, post instructions on how to construct a nuclear device, or advocate in detail the manner of commission, with impunity, of violent crimes. And it is my recollection that one cannot advocate the violent overthrow of the Constitutional order.

Thus, I believe it a viable question whether a court could be persuaded to issue an injunction against the NILC despite any claim of Constitutional protection.
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Pope
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Mon May 01, 2006 9:55 pm

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 8):
As for the warrant and interrogation issues, they may certainly enter without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that the person or persons involved have committed a criminal act for the purposes of a reasonable search.

I don't believe that's a correct statement of the law. A personal residence is afforded the utmost of protection from unreasonable searches by police under what is often referred to as the castle doctrine (a man's house is his castle). An unreasonble search is generally one without a warrant (although there are plenty of exceptions).

Probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed gives a police officer the ability to search your person but absent extigent circumstances (they believe that a crime is presently being committed or harm will occur unless they act immediately) a warrantless search of a residence will usually result in the search and its fruits being excluded from introduction at trial. Here the common law requires that the police go an obtain a warrant even if they have probable cause to believe illegals are in the residence because their is no compelling reason for them not to do so.

In contrast, if they heard someone screaming from inside, they could enter and search for the source of the screams without a warrant and consent and anything in "plain view" during that search would still be admissible.

Note that the application of the exclusionary rule does not mean that the charge is necessarily thrown out. Therefore an unreasonable search can still result in a charge and conviction if the evidence introduced at trial does not have the taint of the unreasonable search.

As for the recommendation that you not even provide your name, I though that there was a recent Supreme Court ruling out of Texas on this matter - specifically that you had to provide your name when asked by a police officer regardless of whether they had probable cause. Perhaps one of the attorneys on the forum can comment.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Mon May 01, 2006 10:30 pm

I'm no lawyer, but reading the pamphlet, I don't see anything illegal about it. I think it's ridiculous there's a pamphlet on how to deal with Immigration or Law Enforcement coming to get you . . . developed of course specifically for the illegal immigrant . . . but it doesn't provide any guidance on breaking any law (unless you interpret the fact an illegal immigrant has already broken the law and is now using this pamphlet to continue breaking the law  irked  ).

In actuality, some of the info is reasonably intelligent. For instance: don't open the door until you're sure of the person on the other side.
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11Bravo
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Tue May 02, 2006 3:31 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 11):
I'm no lawyer, but reading the pamphlet, I don't see anything illegal about it.

I agree. I believe there has to be intention and specificity for it to be a crime. General "tips" on a website could be interpreted as nothing more than a discussion of the techniques and issues.

Now if an individual requested and received further assistance from these folks it would likely be a different matter. "Hi my name is Juan. Can you tell me more information on how to avoid capture by the INS in Los Angeles County?"

We had a loosely similar problem with a small area of a National Forest that was closed to public access because of highly valuable Native American artifacts. There was a website that had maps of the area and instructions on how to gain entry into the site and avoid detection. We managed to get the website shut down, but there were no charges filed because, according to the US Attorneys' Office, the authors of the website were not providing instructions to specific individuals as an aid in the commission of a particular crime.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Crim. Defense Lawyers: Is This Okay?

Tue May 02, 2006 8:17 am

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 12):
I agree. I believe there has to be intention and specificity for it to be a crime. General "tips" on a website could be interpreted as nothing more than a discussion of the techniques and issues.

Sadly, that may be true. That would be, as noted previously, their defense. And it would fly, particularly with a liberal court such as the Ninth Circuit.
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