Patrick Taurel, Legal Fellow and the American Immigration Council, provides an in-depth look...
Drug Possession as an Aggravated Felony
Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47 (2006)
- On January 8, 2007, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to Eighth Circuit for further consideration in light of Lopez v. Gonzales. The case is Tostado-Tostado v. Carlson, No. 06-6766.
- On December 5, 2006, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, held that drug possession convictions that qualify as state felonies, but would not qualify as felonies under federal law, are not “aggravated felonies” as defined under INA § 101(a)(43)(B) ("drug trafficking crimes"). In unqualified terms, the Court said, “Unless a state offense is punishable as a federal felony it does not count.” The Court rejected the government’s broad interpretation of what constitutes an aggravated felony and resolved a circuit split. Justice Souter authored the majority opinion, from which Justice Thomas dissented. See here to read the opinion.
- The Court also dismissed the writ of certiorari in the companion case, Toledo-Flores v. U.S., No. 05-7664, 549 U.S. ___ (2006). Toledo-Flores addressed the aggravated felony issue in the criminal sentencing context. The Court noted that the writ of certiorari was improvidently granted.
Read Our Blog
Read the latest in immigration news at ImmigrationImpact.com, with new articles published every weekday.
Text FACTS to 51555 to get the latest posts sent right to your phone.