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United States v. Villa

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 2, 2019

ROBERTO VILLA 01, Defendant.


          Daniel D. Crabtree United States District Judge

         This case's dense procedural history meanders between two countries, two federal judicial districts, and two distinct Article II agencies. It's best summarized in chronological sequence.

September 5, 2018: A grand jury in the District of Kansas returned a five-count Indictment against defendant Roberto Villa. Among other crimes, it charged Mr. Villa under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, accusing him of illegally reentering the United States after earlier removals in 2000 and 2003. (Doc. 1).
September 13, 2018: Mr. Villa was arrested in DeSoto, Kansas. (Doc. 2).
October 2, 2018: United States Magistrate Judge Teresa J. James ordered Mr. Villa released on conditions. One of those conditions required that he reside at a specified address in DeSoto, Kansas. Another required him to appear in a specified courtroom in our Kansas City, Kansas, courthouse on November 15, 2018. This was the date for the first Status Conference in the case against Mr. Villa. (Doc. 8).
October 10, 2018: The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) deported Mr. Villa to Mexico. (Doc. 24).
November 15, 2018: Mr. Villa didn't appear for the Status Conference. His counsel appeared, however, and he reported that ICE had taken Mr. Villa into custody following Mr. Villa's release from the Marshal's custody. ICE then deported Mr. Villa from the United States. (Doc. 13). The United States then asked the court to issue a bench warrant for Mr. Villa's arrest. His counsel opposed the motion, explaining that the United States had prevented Mr. Villa's appearance in court by deporting him. And so, counsel argued, the court shouldn't issue a warrant. The court directed the parties to file memoranda addressing the relevant legal authorities. (Doc. 13).
But this dispute proved fleeting. The government's request to issue a bench warrant seems to have overlooked that Judge James already had issued an Arrest Warrant on October 31 at the request of the United States Probation Office. See Doc. 20 (Warrant) & Doc. 11 (Petition for Action on Conditions of Pretrial Release). Later, the government moved to withdraw its oral motion for a Bench Warrant. (Doc. 14). The court granted this motion (Doc. 15), and the parties thus didn't submit the memoranda requested at the November 15 conference.
December 5, 2018: Border Patrol Agents arrested Mr. Villa near Cuevitas, Texas. Cuevitas is a “census-designated place” in Hidalgo County, Texas, adjacent to the Rio Grande River and near Los Ebanos, Texas. (Doc. 20).
December 5, 2018: Mr. Villa pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas to knowingly and unlawfully entering the United States at a place other than one designated by immigration officials. The court sentenced him to 10 days custody and a $10 fine. Doc. 24. The same day of his plea and sentence, a law enforcement officer, acting on the warrant issued by this court, arrested Mr. Villa.
January 22, 2019: The United States Probation Office petitioned the court for action on Mr. Villa's conditions of pretrial release. See Doc. 24. Its petition sought an order asking Mr. Villa to show cause why the court should not revoke his pretrial release. Id.
January 23, 2019: Judge James conducted a detention hearing. The court found that Mr. Villa had violated his conditions of release but, for reasons explained on the record, Judge James ordered him released on the “previously set conditions” of release. (Doc. 25). Judge James also advised Mr. Villa that the court would conduct a status hearing in his case the next day, January 24. (Doc. 25).
January 24, 2019: The court conducted the status conference, and Mr. Villa's counsel appeared for it. But, Mr. Villa did not. His counsel advised that ICE again had taken Mr. Villa into custody. Counsel for the United States asked to continue the conference by one week so that it could secure a writ to bring Mr. Villa before the court. Mr. Villa's counsel advised that Mr. Villa didn't object, so the court continued the conference by one week, until January 31. The government announced it would submit a proposed writ and order to the court. (Doc. 28).
January 25, 2019: The government filed its motion seeking a Writ of Habeas Corpus ad prosequendum. (Doc. 29). A few days later, Mr. Villa filed his Objection to ...

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