Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Clark v. Martinez case brief

Clark v. Martinez case brief summary
543 U.S. 371 (2005)

Petitioner aliens, ordered removed but detained beyond the 90-day removal period, filed habeas corpus petitions challenging their continued detention. In one case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a writ ordering the alien released with conditions. In the second case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a denial of the petition. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Both aliens had become inadmissible because of prior criminal convictions in the United States.

The question presented was whether the construction of 8 U.S.C.S. § 1231(a)(6) adopted in Zadvydas applied to the category of aliens ordered removed who were inadmissible under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1182.


  • The court held that it did. 
  • The operative language of 8 U.S.C.S. § 1231(a)(6), "may be detained beyond the removal period," applied without differentiation to all three categories of aliens that were its subject. 
  • Since the Government suggested no reason why the period of time reasonably necessary to effect removal was longer for an inadmissible alien, the six-month presumptive detention period applied. 
  • Both aliens were detained well beyond six months after their removal orders became final. 
  • The Government having offered nothing to indicate that a substantial likelihood of removal subsisted despite the passage of six months and, indeed, having conceded that it was no longer even involved in repatriation negotiations with Cuba, and the district courts in each case having determined that removal to Cuba was not reasonably foreseeable, the petitions for habeas corpus should have been granted.

The Court affirmed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and reversed the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit, and remanded both cases for proceedings consistent with the Court's opinion.

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