Mr. Bado arrived here as a political asylum-seeker from Burkina Faso after being prosecuted and tortured there for his political and religious beliefs. He was accused of misdemeanor sexual assault (touching his stepdaughter’s genital area through her jeans), a crime with a maximum penalty of 180 days. His request for a jury trial was denied on the ground that the crime with which he was charged was a “petty offense,” and he was convicted. Because he is an immigrant, his conviction will lead to his deportation.
In July 2015, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled, 2-1, that the consequences of his conviction entitled him to a jury and therefore ruled that he should get a new trial. But the full court granted the government’s petition for rehearing, and ordered new briefing. In March 2016, we and the D.C. Public Defender Service filed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Bado’s right to a jury trial. The appeal was argued before the full court in June 2016.
In June 2018 the DC Court of Appeals held that a defendant who will face deportation if convicted of a crime has a Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, even if the crime with which he is charged is so "petty" that it ordinarily doesn't trigger the right to trial by jury, which is the holding our amicus brief had urged.