Case Brief for U.S. v. Bernal-Madrigal

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Running head: Case Brief

Case Brief for U.S. v. Bernal-Madrigal


U.S. v. Bernal-Madrigal 346 Fed. Appx. 397

FACTS: In 2003, Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal plead guilty to one count of criminal enterprise, involving the importation of over 9,000 kilograms of cocaine a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848 (a) and (c). Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal was a star witness against the drug lord Fabio Ochoa Vasquez in a criminal case. April of 2008, Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal filed a pro se motion to compel the Government to fix their breach in the plea agreement. Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal contended the Government promised, in writing to secure an S-visa for him. Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal also stated that the government orally agreed to include his wife as well as other documents for other members of his family.

PROCEDUAL HISTORY: This case was argued in the United States Court of Appeals, in the Eleventh Circuit. This case was appealed from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Argued before Judge Birch, Black and Hull Circuit Judges. The decision of this case was that Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal was found guilty and pleaded such in a written statement.

ISSUES: Why was Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal not given an “S” visa as per the agreement?

RULES: Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal was found guilty of felony law 21 U.S.C. § 848 (a) and (c). The sentence recommendation for this law states that a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 20 years. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) filed a request for deferred action for deportation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shortly before his release; but delayed the removal for one year and allowing officials to file the “S” visa application during this time.

ANALYSIS: The judge found the terms of the written agreement unambiguous and showed there was no promise to file for an “S” visa for his family or a downward departure motion. Because Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal did not immediately object to this ruling, on July 21, 2008 the district court adopted the report and recommendation obtained from the Government. After appeals by Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal the district court judge ordered the Government to report on the status for an “S” visa on his behalf. The Government responded by stating it had not yet filed an application due to the fact that Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal was still in prison.

CONCLUSION: The error by the district court for failing to consider Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal’s objections and appeals to the Government’s report and recommendation was stated to be harmless. And given that the district court later considered the objections from Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal. Additionally, Alejandro Bernal-Madrigal also failed to show that the Government violated his written plea agreement, or the oral promises. Some of the appeals of which he filed while he was in prison and could not legally get the “S” visa. This case was affirmed.


United States v. Bernal-Madrigal, 346 F. Appx 397 (11th Cir. 2009)

346 Fed.Appx. 397, 2009 WL 2602370

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