Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Criminal Law
This article argues that a federal district court misinterpreted several statutes after an immigration raid in Postville, Iowa. In Part II, I begin with an account of Agriprocessors' prior legal troubles, which explains how it became such a politically attractive target. Next, I describe how the investigation of Agriprocessors led to a raid seeking to execute nearly 700 criminal arrest warrants. In Part III, I describe the causes of the accelerated criminal process that resulted in nearly 300 guilty pleas and sentencings in the span of twelve days. In Part IV, I argue that the accelerated process was premised upon the flawed interpretations of § 1028A(a)(1), the aggravated identity theft statute, and § 1228(c)(5), the judicial removal statute. In Part V, I argue that these mistaken applications of federal law are prone to repetition. In Part VI, I argue that rectifications of these misinterpretations are likely to diminish the feasibility of future raids followed by imprisonment.
Peter R. Moyers, Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Criminal Law, 32 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 651 (2009).
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