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  1. #1
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    Justices sympathetic to immigrant in ID theft case

    Justices sympathetic to immigrant in ID theft case

    February 25, 2009, 11:26 a.m.
    MARK SHERMAN
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court appeared poised Wednesday to rule that undocumented immigrants who use phony Social Security numbers to get work should not be considered identity thieves, even if those numbers belong to real people.

    The court seemed likely to reject the government's argument that, under a 2004 law that metes out a mandatory two-year prison term for "aggravated identity theft," prosecutors do not have to offer any proof that a defendant knew the identification belonged to someone else and was not simply made up.

    Should someone get two extra years in prison "if it just so happens that the number you picked out of the air belongs to someone else?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked Justice Department lawyer Toby Heytens.

    In response, Heytens urged the justices to look at the law from the perspective of the victims, who care only that someone is using their seemingly private personal information.

    Kevin Russell, a Washington lawyer arguing on behalf of an undocumented worker from Mexico, said there is no question that his client committed a crime by using false documents. But Russell said Congress was trying to toughen penalties for identity thieves who gain access to people's private information to drain their accounts and run up bills in their name.

    Undocumented workers commonly buy ID cards from forgers without any intention of invading someone else's privacy, he said. Russell said there are roughly a billion possible Social Security numbers, only about 400 million of which have been used.

    Russell's client, Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, came to the attention of authorities when decided to drop the assumed name and phony ID numbers he had used for six years. Flores-Figueroa gave his employer his real name and new Social Security and alien registration numbers. Those numbers, however, belonged to real people.

    Federal prosecutors won a conviction under the 2004 identity theft law and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.

    The government has used the charge to persuade people to plead guilty to lesser immigration charges and accept prompt deportation. Many of those undocumented workers had been arrested in immigration raids.

    On Wednesday, the court's conservative and liberal justices signaled they have problems with the government's use of the law against defendants without additional evidence that those defendants knew they were invading the privacy of real people.

    A decision is expected in the spring.


    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/brea ... 110952.php
    The case is Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., 08-108.

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    Senior Member alamb's Avatar
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    so if the Supreme court decides that they are not identity thieves it eans that I can then use a new identity along with the SSN and start a new life in the US and of course I will not be an idenity thieve. Right? Interesting!

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    We truly are a third world lawless banana republic with nuclear weapons.......
    There is no freedom without the law. Remember our veterans whose sacrifices allow us to live in freedom.

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    MW
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    I don't see how the verdict can be anything but guilty as charged. Ignorance is no excuse.

    Hmmm.........make me wonder. If I were to find an unoccupied vehicle (key in the ignition) on public property, would it me okay for me to claim it as my own? Couldn't I assume it didn't belong to anyone? You're right, my presumption that the car is unowned is preposterous. Well, so is the assumption that a social security numbers doesn't belong to someone. How can such an argument be justified when everyone knows that legitimate social security numbers only come from one place, the U.S. Social Security Administration. Obtaining one anywhere else is illegal and the party obtaining the number should be held accountable for any (and all), remote or indirect, consequences that may result from the numbers usage.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    discussed and reported on CNN Lou Dobbs tonight, in the last segment
    starting approximately at 10 minutes before the end of show

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    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamb
    so if the Supreme court decides that they are not identity thieves it eans that I can then use a new identity along with the SSN and start a new life in the US and of course I will not be an idenity thieve. Right? Interesting!
    Yep, fake ID's for everyone, morals and responsibilites out the window. Opening that Pandora's box will be very interesting indeed.
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    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    A couple more Liberal judges appointed by Obama and they won't need months to think about a case like this...all common sense will be out the window and another nail in the coffin of law and order in the U.S.
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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Yes, seem good old common sense doesn't often prevail in our courts anymore. They get all caught up in their legalize.

    While watching Lou's show today the keyword seemed to be 'knowingly.' Well, of course, illegals aren't 'knowingly' using another person's ID, they just want an ID. But the consequences to some of our poor citizens if that number belongs to them is a nightmare to resolve from what I've heard. And if the Supreme Court rules in the illegal's favor it opens the door for them in the future to fall back on this case if caught.

    When are we going to see more laws put in place to stop this nonsense and protect American citizens?
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    February 26, 2009
    Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Identity-Theft Law in Immigration Cases
    By ADAM LIPTAK and JULIA PRESTON

    WASHINGTON — A federal identity-theft law that has become a favorite tool of the government in immigration prosecutions appeared imperiled on Wednesday after the Supreme Court heard arguments about it.

    Prosecutors have relied on the law to seek or threaten two-year sentence extensions in immigration cases against people who used fake Social Security numbers that turned out to belong to real people.

    “There’s a basic problem here,
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    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis, affirmed Mr. Flores-Figueroa’s conviction, saying that the government needed to prove only a knowing use of false information, and not that the defendant knew the fake number belonged to a real person.
    Correct.
    ...most of the immigrants for whom he translated, many from Guatemala, did not know what a Social Security card was or whether the numbers they used at the Postville plant belonged to other people.
    Ignorance of the law is not a defense!
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