Turijan v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 03-10-2014
  • Case #: 10-72027
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Senior District Judge Vinson for the Court; Circuit Judges Silverman and Hurwitz
  • Full Text Opinion

Felony false imprisonment under California law is not a categorical crime of moral turpitude because it does not require intent to injure someone, actual injury, or a protected class of persons and because the full range of conduct prohibited by the statute does not fall within the definition of moral turpitude.

Rodrigo Turijan is a citizen of Mexico and lawful permanent resident of the United States, who pled guilty to felony false imprisonment. Afterwards, Turijan was served with a Notice to Appear, charging him with removability pursuant to INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(iii), for being an alien who had been convicted of an aggravated felony. After multiple continuances, the Immigration Judge issued an oral ruling in favor of Turijan. The government appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals which reversed the decision. Turijan challenges whether felony false imprisonment under California Penal Code §§ 236 and 237 is a categorical crime involving moral turpitude (“CIMT”) for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The panel compared the elements of felony false imprisonment in California to the generic definition of a CIMT, and looked to applicable cases to determine if the conduct could be said to involve moral turpitude. The generic definition of moral turpitude for non-fraudulent crimes of moral turpitude is “base, vile, and depraved” conduct that “shock[s] the public conscience,” and “contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man.” The Ninth Circuit held that false imprisonment does not qualify as a categorical CIMT because the crime does not require intent to injure someone, actual injury, or a protected class of persons and because the full range of conduct prohibited by the statute does not fall within the definition of moral turpitude. GRANTED and VACATED.

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