posted on Jun, 3 2003 @ 08:57 PM
I found this interesting and want to see what happens finally for the poor 67-year-old grandfather from Mexico. I am of course assuming his
To what lengths will arms of the US government go to defend their wrongdoing in the interests of "justice"?
Man To Sue Over Marijuana Car
A Mexican national may sue the U.S. government for selling him a car with a hidden load of marijuana, and then arresting him when he tried to cross
the U.S.-Mexico border in it, a federal appeals court has ruled.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the government's argument that it should be immune from Jose Aguado Cervantes' lawsuit was "so off the
mark as to be embarrassing."
The appellate panel reinstated Cervantes' negligence claims against the government for allegedly failing to find and remove the drugs from the car he
purchased in July of 1999 at a U.S. Marshals Service Auction in San Diego, California.
Four months earlier, the car was seized by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service after it was used to transport illegal immigrants into the
United States but agents apparently failed to notice 199 pounds of marijuana secreted in its bumpers, the court said.
But the justices decided that Cervantes, a resident of Mexico, could not sue for false imprisonment or false arrest because U.S. Customs agents who
found the pot when Cervantes tried to cross the border from Mexico to the United States in October of 1999 "had reasonable cause to believe his
arrest was lawful."
Cervantes spent three and a half months in jail, charged with drug smuggling. He was released after U.S. investigators realised that the marijuana,
which had been welded into the bumper, was so decomposed that it could not have been placed there just months earlier, Cervantes' attorney Stephen
Estey of San Diego said.
Estey called the court's decision to overturn the lower court "refreshing."
"My client is a 67-year-old grandfather and has never had so much as a parking ticket in his life," Estey said. "He has a remarkably good outlook
... it was a rough ride."
The justices criticised prosecutors for failing to heed their earlier order to settle the case, saying the government "thumbs its nose at its
obligation to see that justice is done."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego declined to comment because the case was still being litigated.