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California: Appellate Disentitlement Doctrine Not Applicable To Defendant Deported By ICE

By Michael Brodheim

The California Court of Appeal has held that appellate disentitlement, a reviewing court’s inherent power to dismiss an appeal by a party who has refused to comply with a court’s orders, does not extend to the circumstances of a defendant who has been deported by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Defendant Elver Puluc-Sique was granted probation after he pled no contest to possession of cocaine. He then appealed from the judgment, arguing in his opening brief that the probation conditions orally imposed by the court differed from those documented in the minute order from his sentencing hearing. After being sentenced, defendant was released to ICE and then deported.

The People filed a motion to dismiss Puluc-Sique’s appeal on the ground that he was a fugitive from justice. Concluding that “a defendant who has been deported does not stand in the same shoes as one who has voluntarily placed himself beyond the court’s control,” the Court denied the motion and ordered the People to file a brief responding to the merits of Puluc-Sique’s appeal. See: People v. Puluc-Sique 182 Cal.App.4th 894 (2010).

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Related legal case

People v. Puluc-Sique