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Good News: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Extreme ID Law, Though Justice Comes Late for Many

by Maria Ponce on 05/05/2009 at 6:19pm

Supreme Court

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ignacio Flores-Figueroa wouldn’t be charged with “aggravated identity theft,” reversing an extreme precedent set under the Bush administration. According to the New York Times:

The question in the case was whether workers who use fake
identification numbers to commit some other crimes must know they
belong to a real person to be subject to a two-year sentence extension
for “aggravated identity theft.”

The answer, the Supreme Court said, is yes.

Prosecutors had
used the threat of that punishment to persuade illegal workers to plead
guilty to lesser charges of document fraud.

As the article implies, the unanimous
Supreme Court decision
in favor of Mr. Flores-Figueroa is a major victory for justice in these cases. It prevents prosecutors from using trumped-up identity-theft charges as an intimidation tactic to pressure defendants to give up their basic civil and immigration rights during legal proceedings, as has too often been the case.

Unfortunately, the decision comes a bit too late for the hundreds of victims of ICE raids slammed with extreme ID charges during the years of the Bush Administration.

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