Corpuz v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 08-31-2012
  • Case #: 09-70181
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge W. Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judge Hug; Dissent by Circuit Judge Kleinfeld
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of determining removability, where a defendant receives credit against a criminal sentence for time spent in civil confinement, the percentage of good time credit the defendant received while in prison should be applied to his pre-trial civil confinement period in calculating the entire term of imprisonment.

James Baria Corpuz is a Philippine citizen who was civilly confined to a psychiatric facility before pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to eight years with credit for time served, including the 392 days spent in civil confinement. After Corpuz was released, an Immigration Judge (“IJ”) declared Corpuz removable because he had committed an aggravated felony. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Corpuz’s appeal, and Corpuz petitioned the Ninth Circuit for review. Corpuz asserted that he is eligible for a waiver of removability under former INA § 212(c). Codified under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c), a waiver of removability was not available to an alien convicted of an aggravated felony who had served a term of imprisonment of at least 5 years. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(c) (1992). The IJ included Corpuz’s 392 days spent in civil confinement and declared that Corpuz was ineligible for the waiver because his total term of imprisonment was 5 years and 2 months. The issue on review was whether the 392 days spent in pre-trial civil confinement counts towards the “term of imprisonment.” The Court reasoned that “[w]here a defendant receives credit against a criminal sentence for time spent in civil confinement, it is obvious that reading § 212(c) without taking at least some of this time into consideration would frustrate the purpose of the ‘term of imprisonment’ provision.” Thus, the percentage of good time credit a defendant receives while in prison should be applied to his pre-trial civil confinement period to calculate a defendant’s entire term of imprisonment. The Court ultimately granted Corpuz’s petition because it could not “confidently approximate how much time Corpuz would have actually served in prison had he never spent time in pre-trial psychiatric confinement.” PETITION GRANTED and REMANDED.

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