• Supreme Court blocks deportation in minor drug cases

    Date: 06.21.10 | by Judge Tom.

    A 1996 federal law required the deportation of any non-citizen (legal immigrant) convicted of an aggravated felony.  The law did not clearly define the term “aggravated felony” which left the task to individual courts.  Before this immigrants could ask for leniency if they had a job, a family or other ties the the United states. When a felony conviction is determined by the court to be “aggravated” it calls for greater sanctions at the time of sentencing.

    Jose Carachuri-Rosendo,  a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., was convicted in Texas of possession of marijuana (two ounces).  He was sentenced to 20 days in jail.  He was later convicted of possession of one Xanax pill and received an additional 10 days in jail.  Since this was his second conviction of a drug offense, it qualified as an aggravated felony.  Consequently, Jose was deported.  Through his attorney he challenged the interpretation of the law and appealed his case over the next five years.

    In June, 2010, the United States Supreme Court  ruled unanimously (9 to 0) against the routine deportation of legal immigrants for minor drug possession convictions.  They stated that deportation in those cases was not the intent of the federal law.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    1 Comment subscribe to these comments.

    • C A Thibeault
      Tue, 29 Jun 2010 at 03:41

      I believe that is both the letter and the spirit of the law. He should be deported. In this case, once he was arrested for the drug charges, any other information that can charge him with a crime becomes very relivant. Its not different when a Police Officer stops someone for speeding but when runs a check find that he has a warrant for his arrest in the next state over, so that state extradites.

      In this case, the man should have been convicted of two crimes. Drug-charges, and the Illegal Immigration charge that resulted from him being arrested.

      It doesnt make sense NOT to.