Tag Archives: legalization

Case of the Day: Ido v. Attorney General

The case of the day is Ido v. Attorney General (11th Cir. 2014). Yelkal Ido, an Ethopian national, sought asylum in the United States. His claim, recounted in the Eleventh Circuit’s 2012 decision, was that he had ties to the Oromo Liberation Front, an “outlawed nationalist movement that has taken up arms against the Ethiopian government because of its perceived marginalization of the Oromo.” In 2006, an immigration judge denied the claim on the grounds that Ido’s testimony was not credible. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed, basing its decision on the judge’s adverse credibility finding. In 2012, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the BIA’s conclusion that Ido was not credible, but it remanded for a determination whether the documentary evidence Ido had presented independently supported his claim. The BIA again rejected the claim, and Ido again appealed.
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Case of the Day: Bruton v. Texas

The case of the day is Bruton v. Texas (Tex. Ct. Crim. App. 2014). The defendant, Peter Cain Bruton, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child and sentenced to imprisonment for life. At his sentencing, the prosecution had sought to introduce documents purporting to be public records from England showing that Bruton had been previously convicted of crimes in the Crown Court in Norwich, an INTERPOL record purporting to show that he had previously convicted of crimes in the UK, and a letter from a Data Protection Disclosure Unit Officer of the Norfolk Constabulary to the Denton County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office purporting to show that he had previously been convicted twelve times for indecent assaults on a young girl or girls.
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Case of the Day: Starski v. Kirzhnev

I chose the case of the day, Starski v. Kirzhnev (D. Mass. 2011), because it involves an area of international judicial cooperation we haven’t yet considered, namely, proof of the authenticity of a foreign official document so that it can be admitted in evidence in US proceedings.

Vietnam owed a debt to Russia. Starski had connections in the Vietnamese government, and Kirzhnev had contracts in the Russian government. Starski’s claim was that he had a contract with Kirzhnev under which Kirzhnev was to use his contacts to facilitate a debt-swap transaction between the two countries. Upon the occurrence of the transaction, Kirzhnev was to pay Starski a commission. The transaction went through, but Starski alleged that Kirzhnev never paid. He sued him for breach of contract.

Before trial, the parties sparred over the admissibility in evidence of what purported to be a copy of an official document from the Moscow City Court evidencing Kirzhnev’s conviction on charges of bribing an official, illegal border crossing, and forgery. Starski sought to use the document to impeach Kirzhnev’s character for truthfulness. The court held that the document was inadmissible.

The case was tried to a jury, which found that there was no contract between the parties. The court entered judgment on on the verdict for Kirzhnev. Starski moved for a new trial on the grounds that the court had erred by excluding the evidence of Kirzhnev’s supposed criminal conviction. The court denied the motion, finding, as it had previously, that the document was not properly authenticated.

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