Robles-Urrea v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 04-23-2012
  • Case #: 06-74826
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judge Schroeder, Senior District Judge Pollak
  • Full Text Opinion

Misprision of a felony is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude which would qualify a resident alien for removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

Marco Antonio Robles-Urrea was a lawful permanent resident of the United States. In 2002, Robles-Urrea pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, for allegedly concealing a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine. In 2005 the Department of Homeland Security detained Robles-Urrea as he was returning to the United States from Mexico. Robles-Urrea was served with notice, charging him with removability under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(C) as a drug trafficker and subsequently charged under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) did not rule on the drug trafficking charge, but found that Robles-Urrea was removable for committing a crime involving moral turpitude. On appeal the Ninth Circuit held that misprision of a felony is not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude are generally defined as “inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.” The BIA failed to explain why misprision of a felony could fit within the moral turpitude definition, and their analysis was deemed impermissible. On remand the BIA is instructed to apply a modified categorical approach and may also consider whether Robles-Urrea is removable under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(C)(i) as an alien who has been an illicit trafficker of any controlled substance. REMANDED.

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