Immigrant defendants face double jeopardy

Aug. 31, 2009 at 2:39 PM
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MIAMI, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Legal immigrants charged with crimes sometimes face double jeopardy by having to face similar charges in immigration courts, experts say.

In two such recent cases in Florida, an Egyptian immigrant acquitted on terror-related charges was allowed to stay in the United States while a Haitian immigrant cleared of similar charges was ordered deported by the same judge, The Miami Herald reported.

In the case of the Egyptian immigrant, Youssef Megahed, Immigration Judge Kenneth Hurewitz would not order the deportation because the evidence against him wasn't strong enough, the attorney who represented both men told the newspaper.

"The government's lawyers misunderstood that every case is different and you must plead what you're going to prove," said attorney Charles Kuck. "They failed to do that (in the Megahed case)."

Two days after being cleared of explosives charges in federal court, Megahed in April was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and charged again with the same terrorism-related explosives offense. Hurewitz later ruled for Megahed without requiring his attorney to put on a deportation defense, the Herald said.

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