Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Extradition of Salazar

July 23, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara L. Major United States Magistrate Judge


This is a proceeding pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3184, triggered by a request by the United Mexican States (hereafter "Mexico") through the United States Government (hereafter "the Government") for the extradition from the United States to Mexico of Efrain Morales Salazar (hereafter "Morales") under the provisions of the Extradition Treaty Between the United States of America and The United Mexican States, May 4, 1978 (hereafter "Treaty" or "Extradition Treaty"). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the request for extradition and certifies Morales as extraditable.

I. Background

A. Procedural History

On August 27, 2009, the Government, acting on behalf of Mexico, filed an Amended Complaint for Extradition alleging that Morales had committed the crime of aggravated homicide, in violation of Articles 123, 147, and 148 of the Criminal Code of the State of Baja California, and that the crime was an extraditable offense under the Treaty. ECF No. 4. A magistrate judge issued an arrest warrant and Morales was arrested on September 3, 2009. ECF Nos. 2, 12. On September 4, 2009, the Court arraigned Morales on the amended complaint, appointed counsel to represent him, and ordered him detained without bail. ECF No. 7.

On October 13, 2009, the Court conducted a status hearing and then set a briefing schedule to address the Government's extradition request. ECF No. 13. On November 3, 2009, Morales filed a motion to compel discovery, vacate the briefing schedule, and grant bail, and an opposition to the extradition request. ECF No. 16; see also ECF No. 19. The Government opposed Morales' motions. ECF No. 20. On November 19, 2009, after hearing oral argument, the Court denied Morales' discovery motion, denied his request for bail, and granted his request for a new briefing schedule. ECF No. 21. On November 29, 2009, the Government filed a memorandum of law in support of Mexico's extradition request, followed by a supplemental memorandum. ECF Nos. 22, 23. On December 15, 2009, Morales filed a reply. ECF No. 24.

On January 7, 2010, Morales filed a notice advising the Court that Mexico had granted an "amparo"*fn1 vacating the aggravated homicide charge. ECF Nos. 28, 29. The Government filed an informal response, acknowledging that Mexico had granted Morales' amparo but disputing the effect of the amparo. ECF No. 30. After hearing oral argument, the Court again denied Morales' request for bail, continued the extradition hearing to February, and set a new briefing schedule. ECF Nos. 31, 32.

On February 5, 2009, both parties filed supplemental briefing. ECF Nos. 33-35. Morales filed legal argument and an expert opinion regarding the effect of the successful amparo and the elements of the charged crime. ECF Nos. 33, 35. Morales argued that the Amended Complaint for Extradition should be dismissed because the amparo decision had rendered the 1999 Mexican arrest warrant invalid and an invalid arrest warrant cannot support extradition. ECF Nos. 33, 35 at 2. Morales also argued that the extradition request should be denied because it fails to establish the requisite probable cause. ECF Nos. 33, 35 at 3-7. Finally, Morales argued that he cannot be extradited on simple homicide. ECF No. 35 at 7-9.

In its supplemental filing, the Government submitted a translation of the amparo decision, a new Mexican arrest warrant issued on January 14, 2010, in response to the amparo decision, and an expert opinion regarding amparos in general and the effect of the successful amparo in this case. ECF No. 34. The new arrest warrant charged Morales with the same crime but provided new legal analysis in response to the amparo decision. Id. at 220-35. At the parties' request, the Court continued the extradition hearing several times. ECF Nos. 36-38.

On March 4, 2010, Morales filed a motion explaining that he had filed a new amparo challenging the new arrest warrant and requested that the extradition case be continued pending the outcome of the new amparo and he be released on bail. ECF No. 40. On March 11, 2010, after hearing oral argument, the Court granted Morales' request for bail, set bail conditions, and continued the extradition hearing until April 19, 2010. ECF Nos. 43, 44. The Court stayed the bail order to permit the Government to appeal the order. ECF No. 45. The Government did not appeal the bail order and, on March 19, 2010, Morales was released from custody on a $100,000 bond secured by real property. ECF Nos. 47-50, 54.

On April 19, 2010, the Court presided over the extradition hearing. ECF Nos. 52, 55. On May 7 and 17, 2010, the Government filed supplemental briefing. ECF Nos. 56, 57.

B. Request for Extradition

Mexico seeks the extradition of Morales for the crime of aggravated homicide in violation of Articles 123, 147, and 148 of the Criminal Code of the State of Baja California. ECF No. 4. The Amended Complaint alleges that "[o]n October 3, 1999, in the town of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, EFRAIN MORALES SALAZAR killed Raul Alcaraz Madrid by stabbing him in the abdomen with a sharp bladed instrument during a fight between the two men." Id. at 2. The Amended Complaint explains that Morales, a resident and citizen of the United States, attended a fifteenth birthday celebration in Mexicali. Id. at 1-3. As the party was ending around 1:00 or 1:30 a.m., two groups of men confronted each other and one man from each group began to argue and then fight. Id. at 2. The two men subsequently were identified as Morales and Raul Alcaraz Madrid (hereafter "Alcaraz"). Id. At some point during the fight, Morales stabbed Alcaraz with a small pointed object and one of Alcaraz' friends, Efrain Guerrero Estrada (hereafter "Guerrero"), then hit Morales over the head with a steering wheel security bar. Id. Morales fell to the ground and Alcazar kicked him. Id. Guerrero took Alcaraz to the hospital, where Alcaraz died the next day due to his "penetrating stab wounds." Id. at 2-3.

The Government filed the following documents in support of the extradition request:

* Declaration of Gregory B. Wierzynski, Attorney Advisor in the Office of the Legal Advisor for the Department of State, Washington, D.C. (Exhibit 1 at 1-3)

* Arrest Warrant (Exhibit 1 at 12-16)

* Extradition Treaty (Exhibit 1 at 18-38)

* Affidavit of Alfredo Carrada Herrera, Federal Public Prosecutor, General Division of Extraditions and Legal Assistance, Assistant Attorney General's Office on legal and International Affairs, Mexico's Attorney General's Office (Exhibit 2 at 42-49)

* December 2, 1999 arrest warrant (Exhibit 1 at 54-61)

* Legal provisions relating to aggravated homicide (Exhibit 2 at 66-68)

* Legal provisions relating to statute of limitations (Exhibit 3 at 70-74)

* Judicial resolution on statute of limitations (Exhibit 4 at 76)

* Statement of Efrain Guerrero Estrada (Exhibit 5 at 78-79)

* Statement of Jose Alberto Soto Gonzalez (Exhibit 6 at 81-82)

* Additional statement of Efrain Guerrero Estrada (Exhibit 7 at 84-85)

* Identification proceeding by Efrain Guerrero Estrada (Exhibit 8 at 87-88)

* Identification proceeding and additional statement by ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.