Thursday, November 23, 2006

Supreme Court Oral Argument Previews Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez

Supreme Court Oral Argument Previews Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez (05-1629) Oral Argument: December 5, 2006

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

in 2002, Duenas-Alvarez, a Peruvian national, was found guilty of a violation of California Vehicle Code § 10851(a), which makes it illegal to take a vehicle without the owner’s consent or to aid or abet in such a taking. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought Duenas-Alvarez’s deportation based on the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which allows the government to deport aliens convicted of an “aggravated felony.” “Theft offenses” are one type of crime included in the category of aggravated felonies. The Ninth Circuit overturned the deportation order, reasoning that because the California statute allows for convictions based solely on aiding and abetting, conviction under the statute did not necessarily mean that Duenas-Alvarez had committed a “theft offense.” The DHS contends that simply because accomplice liability involves a lower level of involvement in an offense, that does not remove it from the category of “theft offenses.” The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will affect the immigration status of over 8,000 resident aliens who currently face deportation.

Question(s) presented Whether a “theft offense,” which is an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)((G), includes aiding and abetting.

For much more information about this case, click here.


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