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United States v. Morales-Palacios

369 F.3d 442 (2004)

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United States v. Morales-Palacios

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

369 F.3d 442 (2004)

Facts

Mexican citizen Cipriano Morales-Palacios (defendant) became a permanent resident of the United States (plaintiff). Morales-Palacios was repeatedly convicted under false names of distributing controlled substances, and he was deported. As part of the deportation process, immigrants were given written and oral notice that they were not permitted to return to the United States without the express consent of the government. Morales-Palacios continued to return to the United States. During one of Morales-Palacios’s returns, he applied for a Mexican passport and sought to replace his permanent alien-resident card under his own identity. Because Morales-Palacios had been deported under different names, a computer check indicated that he was a lawful permanent resident, and so Morales-Palacios was given authorization to be in the United States for a limited period. After traveling to Mexico, Morales-Palacios returned to the United States and attempted to pass the airport immigration check. An official ran a background check on Morales-Palacios under his real name, and he was flagged as a deportee who was not permitted to be in the United States. Morales-Palacios was arrested for offenses that included attempted illegal reentry into the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 1326. At trial in federal district court, Morales-Palacios submitted a proposed jury instruction that stated the government must prove that he possessed specific intent. The prosecution filed a motion in limine to exclude any references to Morales-Palacios’s intent. The district court found that attempted illegal reentry after deportation was not a specific-intent crime, rejected Morales-Palacios’s proposed jury instruction, and granted the government’s motion in limine. Morales-Palacios was convicted by the jury. Morales-Palacios appealed, arguing that attempted illegal reentry included the common-law definition of attempt, and that in the common law, attempt was a specific-intent crime.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

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