Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 11.19 B. Federal First Offender Act Exception
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POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - IIRAIRA NEW DEFINITION OF CONVICTION DID NOT IMPLIEDLY REPEAL THE FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT
E.g., Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Curran, 456 U.S. 353, 379, 102 S.Ct. 1825, 1841 n.66 (1982) (Congress presumed aware of judicial interpretation of a statute and to adopt it when it re-enacts a statute without changing it).
"Congress is presumed to be aware of an administrative or judicial interpretation of a statute and to adopt that interpretation when it re-enacts a statute without change, see Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 414, n. 8, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2370, n. 8, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975); NLRB v. Gullett Gin Co., 340 U.S. 361, 366, 71 S.Ct. 337, 340, 95 L.Ed. 337 (1951); National Lead Co. v. United States, 252 U.S. 140, 147, 40 S.Ct. 237, 239, 64 L.Ed. 496 (1920); 2A C. Sands, Sutherland on Statutory Construction 49.09 and cases cited (4th ed. 1973). So too, where, as here, Congress adopts a new law incorporating sections of a prior law, Congress normally can be presumed to have had knowledge of the interpretation given to the incorporated law, at least insofar as it affects the new statute." Lorillard v. Pons, 434 U.S. 575, 580-581, 98 S.Ct. 866, 869-871, 55 L.Ed.2d 40 (1978).
"This rule is based on the theory that the legislature is familiar with the contemporaneous interpretation of a statute . . . . Therefore, it impliedly adopts the interpretation upon reenactment. " 2B, N. Singer, Statutes and Statutory Construction 108 (6th ed. 2000) (citing National Lead Co. v. United States, 252 U.S. 140, 147 (1920); McCajughn v. Hershey Chocolate Co., 283 U.S. 488, 492 (1931); Helvering v. Griffiths, 318 U.S. 371 (1943); Allen v. Grand Central Aircraft Co., 347 U.S. 535 (1954); San Huan New Materials High Tech, Inc. v. Int'l Trade Com'n, 161 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 1998), reh'g denied, in banc suggestion declined (Jan. 28, 1999) and cert. dismissed, 120 S.Ct. 394 (1999).
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Curran, 456 U.S. 353, 379, 102 S.Ct. 1825, 1841 n.66 (1982). CD4:16.12; AF:4.11; CMT:7.4 DIVISIBLE STATUTE ANALYSIS - CONJUNCTIVE CHARGES United States v. Garcia-Medina, ___ F.3d ___, 2007 WL 2317381 (8th Cir. Aug. 15, 2007) (California conviction of sale or transportation of a controlled substance, in violation of Health & Safety Code 11352(a), properly triggered 16-level sentence enhancement for illegal reentry after deportation since charging to which plea was entered listed offenses in the conjunctive, and plea of guilty was entered to every offense listed within the counts of conviction).
NOTE: This decision appears to contradict the decision in Malta-Espinoza v. Gonzales, 478 F.3d 1080, 2007 WL 624532 (9th Cir. March 2, 2007) (where the statute is framed in the disjunctive, e.g., harassment or following is sufficient for conviction, a plea to a charge phrased in the conjunctive, e.g., harassment and following, establishes conviction of harassment, or following, or both, because a plea of guilty admits only the elements of the charge necessary for a conviction and does not establish more than would have been established by a jury verdict of guilty on the charge), following United States v. Cazares, 121 F.3d 1241, 1247 (9th Cir. 1997); United States v. Bonanno, 852 F.2d 434, 441 (9th Cir.1988) ("Where a statute specifies two or more ways in which an offense may be committed, all may be alleged in the conjunctive in one count and proof of any one of those acts conjunctively charged may establish guilt.").
The court based its reasoning on the following analysis:
In California, a guilty plea admits every element of the offense charged, People v. Chadd, 28 Cal.3d 739, 748, 170 Cal.Rptr. 798, 621 P.2d 837 (Cal.1981), including all accusations and factors comprising the charge contained in the pleading. People v. Palacios, 56 Cal.App.4th 252, 257, 65 Cal.Rptr.2d 318 (Cal.Ct.App.1997); see People v. Tuggle, 232 Cal.App.3d 147, 154, 283 Cal.Rptr. 422 (Cal.Ct.App.1991) ("By pleading guilty as charged [to an information worded in the conjunctive, charging, "robbery by means of force and fear"], appellant necessarily admitted the force allegation and cannot now escape the consequences of that admission.") (emphasis added). Thus, "a plea of guilty means guilty as charged in the information, and by it all averments of fact are admitted.... The effect is the same as if the defendant had been tried before a jury and had been found guilty upon evidence covering all material facts. " Arenstein v. Cal. State Bd. of Pharmacy, 265 Cal.App.2d 179, 190, 71 Cal.Rptr. 357 (Cal.Ct.App.1968) disapproved on other grounds by Barber v. Long Beach Civil Serv. Comm'n, 45 Cal.App.4th 652, 658, 53 Cal.Rptr.2d 4 (Cal.Ct.App.1996) (citations omitted).
Accordingly, by pleading guilty to counts one and two as worded, in the conjunctive, Garcia-Medina admitted to several offenses committed on at least two occasions. It is uncontested that most of these offenses qualify as drug trafficking for the purposes of section 2L1.2. Garcia-Medina did not clarify his plea before the California trial court; instead, he admitted every offense listed in the charging document and cannot now escape the consequences of his admission. See People v. Guerrero, 44 Cal.3d 343, 355-356, 243 Cal.Rptr. 688, 748 P.2d 1150 (Cal.1988).
United States v. Garcia-Medina, __ F.3d __, __, 2007 WL 2317381 at *3 (8th Cir. Aug. 15, 2007).
POST-CONVICTION - EFFECT OF EXPUNGEMENT
Matter of Thomas, 24 I.& N. Dec. 416, 419 (BIA Dec. 13, 2007) (second possession conviction can constitute aggravated felony, under INA 101(a)(43)(B), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(B) (2000), even if court expunged first state conviction pursuant to a States rehabilitative procedures), citing United States v. Norbury, 492 F.3d 1012, 1014-15 (9th Cir. 2007); United States v. Miller, 434 F.3d 820, 824 (6th Cir. 2006); United States v. Graham, 315 F.3d 777, 783 (7th Cir. 2003); United States v. Cisneros, 112 F.3d 1272, 1280-81 (5th Cir. 1997); United States v. Meraz, 998 F.2d 182, 184-85 & n.2 (3d Cir. 1993).
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES " STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF " FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT POST CON RELIEF " REHABILITATIVE RELIEF " STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF " FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT
Brikova v. Holder, 699 F.3d 1005 (8th Cir. Nov. 7, 2012) (Minnesota conviction of possession of cocaine, for which defendant would have been eligible for Federal First Offender Act treatment, under 18 U.S.C. 3607(a), was not eliminated for immigration purposes by state rehabilitative relief, since equal protection challenge fails because there are multiple potential rational bases for distinguishing between federal and state defendants).
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES " UNDER THE INFLUENCE " STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF DOES NOT ELIMINATE IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES
Nunez-Reyes v. Holder, 646 F.3d 684, 695 (9th Cir. Jul. 14, 2011) (en banc) (California conviction of being under the influence of a controlled substance, in violation of Health & Safety Code 11550(a), continued to exist to trigger adverse immigration consequences of a controlled substances conviction, despite state rehabilitative relief that would have eliminated the immigration consequences of the conviction under Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 2000), because this offense was not less serious than simple possession of a controlled substance, and was therefore not covered under the Federal First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C. 3607); overruling Rice v. Holder, 597 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2010) (California conviction of being under the influence of a controlled substance, in violation of Health & Safety Code 11550(a), was eligible for the same immigration treatment under Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 2000), as those convicted of first-offense drug possession under the Federal First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C. 3607).
POST CON RELIEF " FEDERAL REHABILITATIVE RELIEF " FFOA
Nunez-Reyes v. Holder, 646 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. Jul.14, 2011) (en banc) (a federal conviction, later expunged under the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA), nevertheless constitutes a conviction for immigration purposes. Importantly, the FFOA mandates that a successfully expunged federal conviction shall not be considered a conviction for the purpose of a disqualification or a disability imposed by law upon conviction of a crime, or for any other purpose. 18 U.S.C. 3607(b) (emphases added).); following on this point Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 2000).
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - CONVICTION EXPUNGED UNDER STATE LAW CONTINUED TO EXIST BECAUSE DEFENDANT VIOLATED PROBATION AND WOULD THUS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE TO OBTAIN FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT EXPUNGEMENT
Estrada v. Holder, 560 F.3d 1039 (9th Cir. Mar. 26, 2009) (a noncitizen whose state conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia was expunged under state law, but who violated the terms of his probation before expungement was granted, would not have been eligible for relief under the Federal First Offender Act (FFOA), 18 U.S.C. 3607(a), since the FFOA expressly limits relief to cases where "the person has not violated a condition of his probation"; state expungement therefore did not eliminate the conviction for immigration purposes).
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF IS INEFFECTIVE TO ELIMINATE CONVICTION FOR PURPOSES OF CONSTITUTING A PRIOR CONVICTION UNDER THE FEDERAL CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT
United States v. Norbury, 492 F.3d 1012, 1014-15 (9th Cir. 2007) (state conviction constitutes prior conviction under federal Controlled Substances Act even if state court expunged conviction by granting state rehabilitative relief); United States v. Miller, 434 F.3d 820, 824 (6th Cir. 2006) (same); United States v. Graham, 315 F.3d 777, 783 (7th Cir. 2003)(same); United States v. Cisneros, 112 F.3d 1272, 1280-81 (5th Cir. 1997) (same); United States v. Meraz, 998 F.2d 182, 184-85 & n.2 (3d Cir. 1993) (same).
POST CON RELIEF - FEDERAL - EXPUNGEMENT
United States v. Sumner, 226 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2000) (district court has no inherent or ancillary authority to expunge criminal records).
It is possible the state in which the federal conviction occurred has an expungement statute, allowing state courts to expunge federal convictions in the sense of sealing state records of federal convictions. Sometimes the NCIC record accidently gets sealed as well. See, e.g., Ohio Revised Code 2953.32.
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT - CONVICTION EXCLUDES EXPUNGEMENTS
Gradiz v. Gonzales, 490 F.3d 1206, ___, (10th Cir. Jun. 20, 2007) ("[T]he First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C. 3607, permits the expungement of first-time simple drug-possession offenses for all purposes, including immigration adjudications. As the Ninth Circuit noted in Lujan-Armendariz, there is no reason to suppose that Congress repealed the First Offender Act sub silentio. It thus makes sense to read the 1101(a)(48)(a) definition to exclude expungements.").
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - WYOMING DEFERRED ENTRY OF PLEA AND SENTENCE NOT EQUIVALENT TO FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT EXPUNGEMENT
Gradiz v. Gonzales, 490 F.3d 1206, ___, (10th Cir. Jun. 20, 2007) (Wyoming deferred entry of plea and sentence, under Wyo. Stat. 7-13-301 ("Without entering a judgment of guilt or conviction, [the court may] defer further proceedings and place the person on probation for a term not to exceed five (5) years."), was not equivalent to expungement under Federal First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C. 3607, for purposes of avoiding a conviction under INA 101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A) for immigration purposes).
JUDICIAL REVIEW - PETITION FOR REVIEW - EXHAUSTION DOCTRINE - FAILURE TO EXHAUST IS EXCUSED IF RESPONDENT CAN SHOW MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE, SUCH AS WHERE CONVICTION ON WHICH DEPORTATION IS BASED DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN AGGRAVATED FELONY
Gradiz v. Gonzales, 490 F.3d 1206, ___ (10th Cir. Jun. 20, 2007) (court of appeal can reach claim that controlled substances conviction does not constitute an aggravated felony, under Lopez, even though respondent failed to exhaust before the IJ or BIA because the law was clear against him, under the miscarriage of justice exception to the exhaustion doctrine of 8 U.S.C. 1252(d)(1)), following Marrero Pichardo v. Ashcroft, 374 F.3d 46, 53 (2d Cir. 2004); see Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991); Goonsuwan v. Ashcroft, 252 F.3d 383, 389 (5th Cir. 2001) (habeas petitioner's failure to exhaust may be excused "when administrative remedies are inadequate" but not where administrative procedures exist to reopen petitioner's case) (internal quotation marks omitted); Sousa v. INS, 226 F.3d 28, 32 (1st Cir. 2000) ("Even where statutes impose an exhaustion requirement the Supreme Court has, despite the rhetoric of jurisdiction, carved out exceptions."); Singh v. Reno, 182 F.3d 504, 511 (7th Cir. 1999) (finding that an exception exists to address "certain constitutional due process claims").
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - SIMPLE POSSESSION - TENTH CIRCUIT
Ballesteros v. Ashcroft, 452 F.3d 1153, 1158 (10th Cir. 2006) (argument that noncitizen relied on Ninth Circuit law when entering plea agreement required (a) favorable Ninth Circuit decision prior to entry of his plea; and (b) record evidence to support this claim such as evidence that acceptance of plea was conditioned on the plea's inability to affect his immigration status; administrative removal record contains only allegations by counsel of such reliance, but these allegations are not evidence), citing Carrillo-Gonzalez v. INS, 353 F.3d 1077, 1079 (9th Cir. 2003).
POST CON RELIEF - STATE REHABILITATIVE RELIEF - SIMPLE POSSESSION -- TENTH CIRCUIT
Elkins v. Comfort 392 F.3d 1159 (10th Cir. 2004) (if the FFOA were to apply, the defendant would have to get the exact same sentence to probation as is provided under the FFOA).
PRACTICE ADVISORY " CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES OFFENSES " FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT DISMISSALS ELIMINATE ALL IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES OF QUALIFYING CONVICTIONS EVEN THOUGH A STATE PROBATIONARY PERIOD LONGER THAN THE FFOA ONE-YEAR TERM WAS IMPOSED
The DHS sometimes argues that a state probation grant longer than the one-year probation period called for under the Federal First Offender Act, 18 U.S.C. 3706(a), disqualifies a conviction for treatment under Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728, 749 (9th Cir. 2000), prospectively overruled by Nunez-Reyes v. Holder, 646 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc). The court of appeals has jurisdiction to review the underlying legal error of the BIA in adopting this argument. See Singh v. Holder, 771 F.3d 647, 650 (9th Cir. 2014). Lujan-Armendariz itself extended Federal First Offender Act treatment to a noncitizen who successfully served five years of probation for a simple drug offense. See 222 F.3d at 733. Similarly, in Rice v. Holder, 597 F.3d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 2010), overruled on other grounds by Nunez-Reyes, 646 F.3d at 695, the Ninth Circuit held that a controlled substance offense was eligible for FFOA treatment even though the petitioner had been sentenced to three years probation, of which he had served approximately 19 months. See id.
POST CON RELIEF " REHABILITATIVE RELIEF " FFOA " FEDERAL FIRST OFFENDER ACT LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
A legislative history search failed to disclose any congressional materials related to the enactment of the Federal First Offender Act, 8 U.S.C. 3607. The statute was added as a rider to an appropriations bill along with many other statutes, and may have been added at the last minute without any sort of Congressional debate. The Federal First Offender Act was originally enacted in 1970 under the title of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, P.L. 91-513 (1970), originally codified at 21 U.S.C. 844(b). The amendment in 1984 only changed the language slightly. There were hearings before the House Subcommittee on Public Health and Welfare, the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, and the Senate Special Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics, Committee on Labor and Public Welfare as well as two committee prints issued by the House Committee on Ways and Means and by the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. The transcripts of the hearings offer some language on why rehabilitation may be more fruitful for those convicted of drug offenses than incarceration, because many of these people actually suffer from addiction and thus should not be punished for their actions. Moreover, simple use and possession of drugs does not harm society and therefore should not be punished the same as other crimes. No specific language was found discussing why first offenses should be expunged or treated less severely. The testimony focused instead on the harmfulness of narcotics and the medical diagnosis of addiction. Thanks to Sarah Shekhter.
POST CON RELIEF " EXPUNGEMENTS " FEDERAL YOUTH CORRECTIONS ACT EXPUNGEMENTS MAY CONTINUE TO BE EFFECTIVE
Federal Youth Corrections Act expungements, under 18 U.S.C. 5021, may continue to be effective to eliminate the adverse immigration effects of federal criminal convictions. United States v. Gardner, 860 F.2d 1391, 1399, n.2 (7th Cir. 1988) (sentencing provisions of FYCA remain available for crimes committed after its repeal because to do otherwise would violate prohibition against ex post facto laws in U.S. Constitution); United States v. Countryman, 758 F.2d 574, 579 n. 2 (11th Cir.1985) (sentencing provisions of FYCA remain available for crimes committed after its repeal because to do otherwise would violate prohibition against ex post facto laws in U.S. Constitution). See Matter of Zingis, 14 I. & N. Dec. 621 (BIA 1974) (before the repeal of the Federal Youth Corrections Act, the BIA held that an FYCA expungement eliminated the fact of a conviction for immigration purposes). After the repeal of the Federal Youth Corrections Act, but before Congress enacted a definition of conviction in IIRIRA, the BIA continued to hold that an FYCA expungement eliminated the fact of a conviction for immigration purposes. See Castano v. INS, 956 F.2d 236, 237 n.3 (11th Cir. 1992) (recognizing post-repeal BIA policy). After the enactment of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48), the BIA held that the new definition applies to convictions before, on, or after effective date of conviction definition. Matter of Roldan, 22 I. & N. Dec. 512 (BIA 1999). In Roldan, the BIA dealt with a state expungement. There is no current authority regarding the FYCA squarely. Even if the client could get a FYCA expungement now, it has never insulated a noncitizen from "reason to believe" inadmissibility, which does not require a conviction. See, e.g, Castano v. INS, 956 F.2d 236 (11th Cir. 1992); Matter of Favela, 16 I&N Dec. 753 (BIA 1979). Thanks to Dan Kesselbrenner.