Law student Barry Dalin is preparing to argue before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (4th Circuit) as part of his work with the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
The case, Jairo Sanchez v. Jefferson Sessions III, centers on the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence in a removal proceeding.
Mr. Sanchez was detained and eventually arrested by a Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MTAP) officer. No charges were ever filed against Mr. Sanchez by the officer, and he was eventually transferred into the custody of United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement who then began removal proceedings. Mr. Sanchez maintains and Dalin argues that the MTAP officer did not have the authority to detain Sanchez to enforce civil immigration law, and therefore, the arrest and transfer was an unlawful act violating Mr. Sanchez’s constitutional rights. As a result, the subsequent removal proceedings should be terminated.
Since removal proceedings are a civil matter, those involved are not protected in full by the same rights afforded to criminal defendants. The egregiousness of the MTAP officer’s actions, however, rises to the level where the 4th Amendment’s exclusionary rule should apply. Dalin explains, “The evidence obtained from this unlawful detention and arrest was the fruit from the poisonous tree because it was obtained illegally during an unlawful immigration enforcement by a state police officer. Therefore to use it in court would transgress notions of fundamental fairness under the 5th amendment and that is really the standard of what is admissible as evidence in an immigration proceeding. Is it reliable and is it fair?”
Dalin recognizes the special opportunity before him. “Every day I wake up and remind myself and push myself to provide our client with the highest quality representation possible because, at its core, that is our job as lawyers. We’re not going to be perfect because we’re humans, but we have to strive to be as close to perfect as possible, especially when someone might be facing some real serious consequences. For me, it drives me every day.” He continues, “If I’m tired, if I’m cranky, if I’m hungry, I’ve put in so many hours, and I don’t want to keep going, I think to myself ‘you just got to keep cranking through it.’”
Michael Pinard, Co-Director of the Clinical Law Program and Francis & Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law, recognizes the uniqueness of a student arguing before the 4th Circuit, but knows Dalin is up to the task. He states, “Barry represents lawyering and clinical legal education at their best. It is extraordinarily rare for a law student to have the opportunity and privilege to argue in front of a federal appellate court. Under Professor Sweeney’s superb supervision, Barry is prepared to present the legal arguments on behalf of a client who is asking, simply, for justice.”
Maureen Sweeney, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic and Law School Associate Professor, is the supervising attorney for this case. She lent her exceptional experience and expertise to oversee Dalin every step of the way and is certain of both his readiness and aptitude: “Inspired by his client, Barry has taken the responsibility of arguing in federal appellate court with great seriousness and professionalism, and has been preparing with moots before practicing appellate attorneys and even a retired federal judge. I have no doubt that his representation will be of the highest possible quality.”
Jairo Sanchez v. Jefferson Sessions III is scheduled for oral arguments January 25, 2018 at the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Courthouse in Richmond, VA.
Editors Note: The recording of Dalin's oral argument is available here.