Subsequently, U.S. prosecutors took their pleadings to another judge in Newark, Magistrate Stanley Chesler. But after discovering some Mexican documents lacked credibility, the prosecutors acknowledged that they were no longer confident that they could clearly trace Ruiz Massieu's alleged embezzlement.
Chesler decided this development caused such "substantial damage" to the government's arguments that he threw the case out.
U.S. authorities then changed tactics completely. Instead of trying to extradite Ruiz Massieu to Mexico on criminal evidence that two judges had challenged, they argued before a third federal judge that he should be deported simply on "foreign policy" grounds.
But U.S. District Judge Maryanne Trump Barry ruled that this approach allowed Ruiz Massieu no meaningful response. She called it unconstitutional, "Kafkaesque" and a "breathtaking departure" from other methods of deporting unwanted foreigners.
With the latest ruling by Garcy, based on reasoning similar to Barry's, U.S. attorneys had no recourse but to appeal once again--this time to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the ultimate arbiter in deportation cases.
Arguing for reversal of Garcy's ruling, David Dixon, the top appellate lawyer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has filed a brief declaring that the secretary of State was not required "to produce evidence in support of [his] finding" that Ruiz Massieu's continued presence here would adversely affect U.S. foreign policy.
Dixon said it should be obvious that such foreign policy considerations involve "bilateral law enforcement cooperation and the anti-corruption campaign of the Mexican government" under current President Ernesto Zedillo.
With a ruling from the immigration appeals board not expected until fall, attorneys for Ruiz Massieu are pressing to alleviate the conditions of his house arrest.
"It's never been proved, after all, that he has done anything wrong," said Robert Frank, his principal defense attorney.