468 U.S. 1032 (1984), 83-491, INS v. Lopez-Mendoza

Docket Nº:No. 83-491
Citation:468 U.S. 1032, 104 S.Ct. 3479, 82 L.Ed.2d 778
Party Name:INS v. Lopez-Mendoza
Case Date:July 05, 1984
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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468 U.S. 1032 (1984)

104 S.Ct. 3479, 82 L.Ed.2d 778

INS

v.

Lopez-Mendoza

No. 83-491

United States Supreme Court

July 5, 1984

Argued April 18, 1984

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR

THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Respondent Mexican citizens were ordered deported by an Immigration Judge. Respondent Lopez-Mendoza unsuccessfully objected to being summoned to the deportation hearing following his allegedly unlawful arrest by an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agent, but he did not object to the receipt in evidence of his admission, after the arrest, of illegal entry into this country. Respondent Sandoval-Sanchez, who also admitted his illegal entry after being arrested by an INS agent, unsuccessfully objected to the evidence of his admission offered at the deportation proceeding, contending that it should have been suppressed as the fruit of an unlawful arrest. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirmed the deportation orders. The Court of Appeals reversed respondent Sandoval-Sanchez' deportation order, holding that his detention by INS agents violated the Fourth Amendment, that his admission of illegal entry was the product of this detention, and that the exclusionary rule barred its use in a deportation proceeding. The court vacated respondent Lopez-Mendoza's deportation order and remanded his case to the BIA to determine whether the Fourth Amendment had been violated in the course of his arrest.

Held:

1. A deportation proceeding is a purely civil action to determine a person's eligibility to remain in this country. The purpose of deportation is not to punish past transgressions, but rather to put an end to a continuing violation of the immigration laws. Consistent with the civil nature of a deportation proceeding, various protections that apply in the context of a criminal trial do not apply in a deportation hearing. Pp. 1038-1039.

2. The "body" or identity of a defendant in a criminal or civil proceeding is never itself suppressible as the fruit of an unlawful arrest, even if it is conceded that an unlawful arrest, search, or interrogation occurred. On this basis alone, the Court of Appeals' decision as to respondent Lopez-Mendoza must be reversed, since he objected only to being summoned to his deportation hearing after an allegedly unlawful arrest, and did not object to the evidence offered against him. The mere fact of an illegal arrest has no bearing on a subsequent deportation hearing. Pp. 1039-1040.

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3. The exclusionary rule does not apply in a deportation proceeding; hence, the rule does not apply so as to require that respondent Sandoval-Sanchez' admission of illegal entry after his allegedly unlawful arrest be excluded from evidence at his deportation hearing. Under the balancing test applied in United States v. Janis, 428 U.S. 433, whereby the likely social benefits of excluding unlawfully obtained evidence are weighed against the likely costs, the balance comes out against applying the exclusionary rule in civil deportation proceedings. Several factors significantly reduce the likely deterrent value of the rule in such proceedings. First, regardless of how the arrest of an illegal alien is effected, deportation will still be possible when evidence not derived directly from the arrest is sufficient to support deportation. Second, based on statistics indicating that over 97.7 percent of illegal aliens agree to voluntary deportation without a formal hearing, every INS agent knows that it is unlikely that any particular arrestee will end up challenging the lawfulness of his arrest in a formal deportation hearing. Third, the INS has its own comprehensive scheme for deterring Fourth Amendment violations by [104 S.Ct. 3481] its agents. And finally, the deterrent value of the exclusionary rule in deportation proceedings is undermined by the availability of alternative remedies for INS practices that might violate Fourth Amendment rights. As to the social costs of applying the exclusionary rule in deportation proceedings, they would be high. In particular, the application of the rule in cases such as respondent Sandoval-Sanchez' would compel the courts to release from custody persons who would then immediately resume their commission of a crime through their continuing, unlawful presence in this country, and would unduly complicate the INS's deliberately simple deportation hearing system. Pp. 1040-1050.

705 F.2d 1059, reversed.

O'CONNOR, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, and IV, in which BURGER, C.J., and BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Part V, in which BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., post, p. 1051, WHITE, J., post, p. 1052, MARSHALL, J., post, p. 1060, and STEVENS, J., post, p. 1061, filed dissenting opinions.

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O'CONNOR, J., lead opinion

JUSTICE O'CONNOR announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, III, and IV, and an opinion with respect to Part V, in which JUSTICE BLACKMUN, JUSTICE POWELL, and JUSTICE REHNQUIST joined. *

This litigation requires us to decide whether an admission of unlawful presence in this country made subsequently to an allegedly unlawful arrest must be excluded as evidence in a civil deportation hearing. We hold that the exclusionary rule need not be applied in such a proceeding.

I

Respondents Adan Lopez-Mendoza and Elias Sandoval-Sanchez, both citizens of Mexico, were summoned to separate deportation proceedings in California and Washington, and both were ordered deported. They challenged the regularity of those proceedings on grounds related to the lawfulness of their respective arrests by officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). On administrative appeal, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), an agency of the Department of Justice, affirmed the deportation orders.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed Sandoval-Sanchez' deportation order and vacated and remanded Lopez-Mendoza's deportation order. 705 F.2d 1059 (1983). It ruled that Sandoval-Sanchez' admission of his illegal presence in this country was the fruit of an unlawful arrest, and that the exclusionary rule applied in a deportation proceeding. Lopez-Mendoza's deportation order was vacated and his case remanded to the BIA to

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determine whether the Fourth Amendment had been violated in the course of his arrest. We granted certiorari, 464 U.S. 1037 (1984).

A

Respondent Lopez-Mendoza was arrested in 1976 by INS agents at his place of employment, a transmission repair shop in San Mateo, Cal. Responding to a tip, INS investigators arrived at the shop shortly before 8 a.m. The agents had not sought a warrant to search the premises or to arrest any of its occupants. The proprietor of the shop firmly refused to allow the agents to interview his employees during working hours. Nevertheless, while one agent engaged the proprietor in conversation, another entered the shop and approached Lopez-Mendoza. In response to the agent's questioning, Lopez-Mendoza gave his name and indicated that he was from Mexico with no close family ties in the United States. The agent then placed him under arrest. Lopez-Mendoza underwent further questioning at INS offices, where he admitted he was born in Mexico, was still a citizen of Mexico, and had entered this country without inspection by immigration authorities. Based on his answers, the agents prepared a "Record of Deportable Alien" (Form I-213), and an affidavit which Lopez-Mendoza executed, admitting his Mexican nationality and his illegal entry into this country.

A hearing was held before an Immigration Judge. Lopez-Mendoza's counsel moved to terminate the proceeding on the ground that Lopez-Mendoza had been arrested illegally. The judge ruled that the legality of the arrest was not relevant to the deportation proceeding, and therefore declined to rule on the legality of Lopez-Mendoza's arrest. Matter of Lopez-Mendoza, No. A22 452 208 (INS, Dec. 21, 1977), reprinted in App. to Pet. for Cert. 97a. The Form I-213 and the affidavit executed by Lopez-Mendoza were received into evidence without objection from Lopez-Mendoza. On the basis of this evidence, the Immigration Judge found Lopez-Mendoza

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deportable. Lopez-Mendoza was granted the option of voluntary departure.

The BIA dismissed Lopez-Mendoza's appeal. It noted that "[t]he mere fact of an illegal arrest has no bearing on a subsequent deportation proceeding," In re Lopez-Mendoza, No. A22 452 208 (BIA, Sept.19, 1979), reprinted in App. to Pet. for Cert. 10Oa, 102a, and observed that Lopez-Mendoza had not objected to the admission into evidence of Form I-213 and the affidavit he had executed. Id. at 103a. The BIA also noted that the exclusionary rule is not applied to redress the injury to the privacy of the search victim, and that the BIA had previously concluded that application of the rule in deportation proceedings to deter unlawful INS conduct was inappropriate. Matter of Sandoval, 17 I. & N. Dec. 70 (BIA 1979).

The Court of Appeals vacated the order of deportation and remanded for a determination whether Lopez-Mendoza's Fourth Amendment rights had been violated when he was arrested.

B

Respondent Sandoval-Sanchez (who is not the same individual who was involved in Matter of Sandoval, supra) was arrested in 1977 at his place of employment, a potato processing plant in Pasco, Wash. INS Agent Bower and other officers went to the plant, with the permission of its personnel manager, to check for illegal aliens. During a change in shift, officers stationed themselves at...

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