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United States v. Orellana-Blanco

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
294 F.3d 1143 (2002)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Santos Orellana-Blanco (Orellana) (defendant), an alien, for entering into a sham marriage, and then lying to immigration officials about that marriage, in order to obtain permanent resident-alien status and the green card indicative of that status. At trial, Orellana testified that he had an intimate sexual and domestic relationship with Beatrice Boehm before their wedding, that Boehm would not let him live with her after the wedding, and that the marriage broke up solely for financial reasons. Boehm testified that she met Orellana on their wedding day, and that she and Boehm never lived together because the marriage was always a sham. The federal district court judge admitted government Exhibit 3, the report of an interview held in connection with Orellana's application for a green card. An immigration officer named Kendall conducted the interview. The report recorded that Orellana told Kendall that he and Boehm lived together as husband and wife. Orellana denied making that statement. Kendall was on sick leave during the trial and did not testify. An immigration officer named Radke testified instead. Radke attended the interview only briefly, to help Kendall translate Orellana's Spanish, which both Radke and Kendall had trouble understanding. Radke testified that the report was not a verbatim account of the interview, and that he could not decipher the spotty and cryptic notes from which Kendall later compiled the report. Despite their apparent reservations as to Boehm's credibility, the jury convicted Orellana. On appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Orellana challenged the admission of Exhibit 3.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kleinfeld, J.)

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