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  • Writer's pictureWarren & Burstein

Warren & Burstein wins in the Ninth Circuit for the third time in 2024.

In United States v. Murad, --- F.App'x ---, No. 23-50026 (9th Cir. 2024), the Court vacated our client's convictions for bringing into the United States an alien for financial gain and unlawfully bringing in an alien without presentation, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii) and (iii).

We were brought in for the appeal and won.

The Court held the district court plainly erred in admitting the material witness’s videotaped deposition testimony: "[T]he district court clearly erred in admitting the material witness’s deposition testimony because the government failed to present any evidence establishing the witness’s unavailability, and the district court did not make an unavailability finding. The error affected Murad’s substantial Confrontation Clause rights and seriously affected the fairness of the proceedings. The deposition testimony constituted the only evidence proving certain elements of the offenses, and Murad asserts the testimony would not have been admitted had she objected at trial. There are indications in the record that the material witness was available, including the witness’s promise under oath to return for trial, the availability of travel documents authorizing return, and the lack of any indication that the witness had lost contact with his attorney. Furthermore, the record does not indicate the government could have established a good-faith effort to obtain the witness’s presence at trial had Murad objected. Accordingly, Murad satisfies all four requirements of the plain error standard."

We are thrilled for our client. A copy of the decision is here.

The video of the oral argument is below.

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