From my own backyard comes an interesting case. Clients often inquire about the relationship between immigration proceedings and criminal court proceedings, and this case is an example of how things usually do not go.

A man charged with the crime of sexual assault was detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after having been arrested by local police. Instead of turning him back over to local authorities for prosecution, however, immigration officials deported him back to his native Guatemala without facing the criminal court charges.

The article, found here, does not specify how the accused was released from jail on the criminal charge, or why the immigration detention ended with a deportation instead of a transfer back to a Miami pre-trial detention center where the criminally accused are brought to address their charges. (When individuals with open criminal cases are deported, it may be because local prosecuting authorities fail to request the defendant be transferred to face the charges, or it may be because immigration authorities did not respond to a request to transfer the accused.)

In the case of Werner Orozco, however, once he was deported, Miami prosecutors sought the assistance of the United States’ National Central Bureau (“NCB”), which is the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to re-capture him.  NCB Washington requested a Red Notice from INTERPOL, which then issued the notice and distributed it to all its member countries.

The Red Notice eventually worked as intended. Mr. Orozco was stopped while traveling abroad, went through extradition proceedings, and is now back in Miami to face the charges.

It is rare for a criminal defendant to be deported prior to facing such serious charges; prosecutors benefited from this defendant’s travel and subsequent apprehension.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.