The Federalist Society in Action
Media Ignorance of Exclusionary Rule

Aggravated Identity Theft

Today the Ninth Circuit issued an important case involving 18 U.S.C. § 1028A (aggravated identity theft): 

Today we join the D.C. Circuit in holding that the crime of aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), requires proof that, among other things, the defendant knew that the means of identification belonged to another person. It is not enough to prove only that the defendant knew he was using a false document. See United States v. Villanueva-Sotelo, 515 F.3d 1234 (D.C. Cir. 2008).

United States v. Miranda-Lopez, No. 07-50123 (9th Cir., July 17, 2008) (opinion) (via Martin).  I discussed Section 1028A in the context of the Postville, Iowa raid here.  This issue is very important in cases primarily involving illegal immigrants.  Many knowingly use false identification, but many do not know that the false identification belongs to another person. 

The illegal immigrants do indeed use false identification, but they don't steal someone's identity.  After all, if you don't know that something belongs to someone else, how can you steal it?

Should an uneducated immigrant who is handed a piece of identification (often someone else's Social Security card) and told to hand it to an employer be punished under the same law intended for hackers?