107 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 1996), 95-55464, Alvarez-Machain v. United States

Docket Nº:95-55464, 95-55768 and 95-56121.
Citation:107 F.3d 696
Party Name:D.A.R. 1721 Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES of America; Antonio Garate-Bustamante; Francisco Sosa, Defendants, and Hector Berellez; Bill Waters; Pete Gruden; Jack Lawn, Defendants-Appellants. Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendant-Appellant. Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAI
Case Date:September 24, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 696

107 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 1996)

D.A.R. 1721

Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, Plaintiff-Appellee,


UNITED STATES of America; Antonio Garate-Bustamante;

Francisco Sosa, Defendants,


Hector Berellez; Bill Waters; Pete Gruden; Jack Lawn,


Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, Plaintiff-Appellee,


UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendant-Appellant.

Humberto ALVAREZ-MACHAIN, Plaintiff-Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Defendant,


Francisco Sosa; Antonio Garate-Bustamante, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 95-55464, 95-55768 and 95-56121.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

September 24, 1996

Argued and Submitted July 8, 1996..

Amended Feb. 19, 1997.

Page 697

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 698

Paul Hoffman, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, for Alvarez-Machain.

Robert M. Loeb, Appellate Staff, Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for United States of America.

Michael L. Martinez, Holland & Knight, Washington, DC, for Berellez, Waters, Gruden & Lawn.

Gary S. Lincenberg and Thomas V. Reichert, Bird, Marella, Boxer Wolpert & Matz, Los Angeles, California, for Antonio Garate-Bustamante; Charles S. Leeper and Karl N. Metzner, Spriggs & Hollingsworth, Washington, DC, for Francisco Sosa.

Peter Goldberger, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, for amicus Human Rights Watch; Harold Hongju Koh, Allard K. Lowenstein, International Human Rights Clinic, New Haven, Connecticut, for amicus Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, et al.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, John G. Davies, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV 93-04072-JGD.

Before: GOODWIN and SCHROEDER, Circuit Judges, and KING [*], District Judge.

GOODWIN, Circuit Judge:

In April 1990 the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) orchestrated the abduction and torture of Dr. Alvarez-Machain, a Mexican doctor, and transported him to the United States for prosecution for the murder of a DEA agent in Mexico. The criminal case ended when the district court granted a judgment of acquittal.

Alvarez-Machain returned to Mexico and filed this civil action against the United States and its agents under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and other federal statutes. His claims included the violation of constitutional rights as well as ten torts, ranging from torture to false imprisonment. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, and the district court granted the motion in part and denied it in part.

The court dismissed the constitutional claims that were based upon activities occurring in Mexico. The court also dismissed a claim brought under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The court refused to dismiss the tort claims as barred by the statute of limitations, and denied the motion based upon the defense of qualified immunity asserted by defendants accused of wrongful conduct within the United States. We affirm the district court in its judgment with respect to all claims other than the TVPA claim. The district court held that it could not apply the TVPA to defendant's actions because the TVPA was enacted subsequent to the pertinent events. Because we hold that application of the TVPA to past acts would not have a retroactive effect, we reverse the district court on this ruling.

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On April 2, 1990, a team of men alleged to be hired by DEA agents working in Mexico, abducted Dr. Alvarez-Machain from his office in Guadalajara. They blindfolded him, transported him to an unknown location, and proceeded to beat him and subject him to electrical shocks. His kidnappers injected him with unknown chemical substances causing nausea and dizziness, denied him food and water, and forced him to lie face down on the floor for a long period of time. His life was repeatedly threatened, as well as the safety of his family. After enduring this torment for several hours, he was delivered into the hands of the DEA in El Paso, Texas.

Defendant Antonio Garate-Bustamante coordinated and led the activities in Mexico, and defendant Francisco Sosa participated in the events. Both were working as the paid agents of the DEA, who undertook to bring Alvarez-Machain to the United States in order to prosecute him for his alleged role in the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena.

Once in El Paso, defendant Garate-Bustamante and several DEA agents interrogated Alvarez-Machain. The DEA agents threatened Alvarez-Machain during the interrogation, denied him food and adequate medical attention, and at one point forced him to stand naked and be photographed. In El Paso, the DEA processed Alvarez-Machain under an assumed name or names, despite knowing his true identity, frustrating efforts by his family members and the Mexican government to learn his whereabouts.

On April 10, 1990, Alvarez-Machain was transferred to Los Angeles and arraigned on charges of murder before United States District Judge Edward Rafeedie. Subsequently, Judge Rafeedie dismissed the charges, concluding that the court lacked jurisdiction over Alvarez-Machain because his abduction violated the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico. United States v. Caro-Quintero, 745 F.Supp. 599, 601 (C.D.Cal.1990), aff'd sub nom United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 946 F.2d 1466 (9th Cir.1991). The Supreme Court reversed the dismissal, however, and Alvarez-Machain was forced to stand trial. United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655, 112 S.Ct. 2188, 119 L.Ed.2d 441 (1992). As noted, the prosecution ended with a judgment of acquittal on December 14, 1992. After the acquittal, Judge Rafeedie revealed that the government had withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense, in addition to failing to take him promptly before a magistrate after he reached United States territory under arrest.

In addition to the cases consolidated in this appeal, Alvarez-Machain filed an administrative claim against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b). He added the United States as a defendant in January, 1994, after the six-month waiting period required by statute had expired. Against all defendants he alleged claims for kidnapping; torture; cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged arbitrary detention; assault and battery; false imprisonment; intentional infliction...

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