Ceron v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 04-02-2013
  • Case #: 08-70836
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Sr. Circuit Judges Bright; Dissent by Circuit Judge Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Gonzales v. Barber, the Board of Immigration Appeals has jurisdiction over an alien convicted of a crime where he could have been sentenced to at least one year’s imprisonment, even if the actual sentence was for less amount of time, suspended, or imposed through probation; additionally, the designation of a felony by a trial court on the minute order will be given deference in determining a “wobbler.”

Defendant Adolfo Ceron petitioned the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) to review its finding that his conviction, for assault with a deadly weapon constituted a “crime involving moral turpitude” ("CIMT"). After pleading nolo contendere to assault with a deadly weapon, Ceron's sentence of 364 days in jail was suspended and probation was imposed instead. The BIA held that Ceron's offense involved moral turpitude for which "a sentence of at least one year's imprisonment could have been imposed," therefore Ceron’s conviction was removable pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i). The Ninth Cirucit held that Gonzales v. Barber, which was a substantially similar statute and was considered a "crime involving moral turpitude," was still good law, therefore, the BIA interpretation was in accordance with established precedent. Additionally, the panel held that Ceron’s conviction, although a “wobbler” since it was punishable by both felony and non-felony type punishments, was a felony because the minute order labeled the conviction as a felony. The panel also held that, although Ceron's offense is a wobbler and a felony, it could not be converted into a misdemeanor since the trial court suspended imposition of sentence and ordered probation instead. Petition DENIED.

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