Coronado v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 03-14-2014
  • Case #: 11-72121
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Judge Nguyen for the Court; Circuit Judges Benavides and Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) is a divisible statute and convictions for possessing methamphetamine in violation of the statute are not categorical removable offenses.

Raul Quijada Coronado, a native and citizen of Mexico and legal permanent resident of the United States, was convicted with methamphetamine possession in violation of California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) in 2006 and 2010. After the 2006 conviction, the Department of Homeland Security served Coronado, alleging, among other things, that he was subject to removal based on the 2006 conviction. His second conviction came during these removal proceedings. The Immigration Judge (IJ) found Coronado inadmissible due to the prior convictions. Coronado appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which denied Coronado's cancellation of removal application and affirmed the IJ ruling, finding him inadmissible based on his prior drug convictions. Coronado appealed, also bringing due process and equal protection claims. On review, the panel first held that convictions for possessing methamphetamine in violation of California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) are not categorical removable offenses. However, the panel also held that California Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) is a divisible statute. The panel then applied the modified categorical approach and found that the government satisfied its burden to prove that Coronado was twice convicted of methamphetamine possession. The panel also remanded Coronado's due process claims to the BIA for consideration in the first instance and dismissed his equal protection claim. DENIED in part, REMANDED in part and DISMISSED in part.

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