Cabantac v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 08-23-2012
  • Case #: 09-71336; 12-71459
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Chief Judge Kozinski and Circuit Judges O'Scannlain and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Evidence that a defendant pleaded guilty to a count of possession of methamphetamine is sufficient to prove that the defendant was convicted of a controlled substance offense under 21 U.S.C. § 802, and not a general state offense.

Randy Cabantac is a native and citizen of the Philippines. The Immigration Judge (“IJ”) issued an order of removal after finding that Cabantac was convicted for possession of methamphetamine in violation of California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a). Cabantac sought review of the Board of Immigration Appeals‘ (“BIA”) order affirming the IJ’s removal order, arguing that he pleaded guilty to the general state offense of possession of a controlled substance, and not to possession of methamphetamine. The distinction is significant because 21 U.S.C. § 802 defines methamphetamine as a controlled substance. However, “not all substances punishable under California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) are defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802.” The Court found that Cabantac pleaded guilty to count one of the criminal complaint, which specified that he possessed methamphetamine, in the amended abstract of judgment. In responding to Cabantac’s questions as to whether the Court could consider the facts alleged in the complaint, the Court held that when “the abstract of judgment or minute order specifies that a defendant pleaded guilty to a particular count of the criminal complaint or indictment, [the Court] can consider the facts alleged in that count.” The Court determined that the abstract of judgment and complaint together were sufficient to prove that the controlled substance underlying Cabantac’s conviction was methamphetamine. PETITION DENIED.

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