In 2011, the federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Godfrey Emmanuel Harvey (defendant), a Jamaican, for re-entering the United States after having been deported for an aggravated felony conviction, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a). A conviction required not only proof that a court ordered Harvey's deportation, but that the order had actually been carried out. The trial evidence established that a judge ordered Harvey's deportation in 1991, and that immigration officer David R. Thompson executed a signed warrant indicating that, on March 7, 1992, he witnessed Harvey leave the country on a flight bound for Jamaica. The warrant listed the flight number. Harvey stipulated that the warrant bore his fingerprints and signature and the flight number. Thompson died before Harvey's 2011 trial. However, immigration agent William Sansone testified that, in 1992, deportation procedure required Thompson to escort Harvey to the aircraft, ensure the cabin was secure, remain at the cabin door until the aircraft pulled away from the boarding gate, and then watch the aircraft until it flew out of sight. Harvey moved to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, arguing that the government did not introduce any evidence that Harvey had ever actually left the country, or that Thompson followed the 1992 deportation procedure. The federal district court judge denied Harvey's motion, ruling that there was no particular reason to doubt that Thompson followed procedure. The jury convicted Harvey, and he appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.