United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
Argued: December 3, 2014
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:06-cr-00290-1).
Sandra G. Roland, Assistant Federal Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. With her on the brief was A.J. Kramer, Federal Public Defender.
David P. Saybolt, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Chrisellen R. Kolb, and Carolyn K. Kolben, Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
Before: GRIFFITH and PILLARD, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge. OPINION filed by Circuit Judge GRIFFITH.
Griffith, Circuit Judge:
Khaled Shabban challenges his conviction for international parental kidnapping on the ground that his trial counsel gave him constitutionally defective assistance. We disagree and affirm his conviction.
Shabban is an Egyptian national who met Araceli Hernandez, a Mexican national, in Washington, D.C. They had a son together in August 2001. Because the couple did not live together, they entered into a consensual order governing the custody of their son in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The parties agreed that Hernandez would have primary physical custody of the boy, Shabban would have unsupervised visitation rights, and that their son would " 'not be removed from the country without the express written consent of both parties.'" United States v. Shabban, 612 F.3d 693, 694, 391 U.S.App.D.C. 408 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (quoting Trial Tr. 203 (June 19, 2007)) (alterations in original). Despite this agreement, three years after entering into the custody order, Shabban began preparing to take his son to Egypt without Hernandez's permission. He sold his coffee business and made arrangements for his roommate to take over the lease on their apartment. He told his roommate of his plan to take the boy to Egypt and claimed that Hernandez did not care. Shabban called Hernandez on November 21, 2001, and asked if he could take their son to an amusement park. Hernandez agreed. Later that day, she tried to call Shabban, but he did not answer. She went to his apartment, but he was not there. That evening, Shabban and his son boarded a flight to Cairo, with Shabban flying under the name " Khaled Rashad." A week later, Shabban called Hernandez and told her that he and their son were in Egypt. Hernandez contacted the authorities and eventually worked with the FBI over the course of the next twenty-two months to convince Shabban to bring the child back to the United States.
During their conversations, which were taped, Shabban referred to their son's difficulty
learning to communicate and told Hernandez that he had taken the child to Egypt to learn a single language, Arabic, rather than the three he was hearing at home, Arabic, Spanish, and English. Shabban admitted taking the child without the permission of Hernandez. Upon the FBI's advice, Hernandez asked and eventually convinced Shabban to return their son to the United States in time for the next school year. Federal agents arrested Shabban at the airport when he arrived in New York. After his arrest, Shabban told the FBI that he had taken his son to Egypt because the child was having difficulty ...