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4th Cir.: Only the four corners of the court record may be used to make a crime of moral turpitude determination for immigration purposes

Feb 09, 2012 4th Cir.: Only the four corners of the court record may be used to make a crime of moral turpitude determination for immigration purposes

When a criminal defense lawyer consults with a qualified immigration lawyer conversant with adverse immigration consequences from criminal convictions, expect to hear the immigration lawyers’ analysis include risks from crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies.

Praised be the majority on the Fourth Circuit panel that last week ruled that only the four corners of the court record may be used to make a crime of moral turpitude determination for immigration purposes, stating in pertinent part: 

"Under the modified categorical approach, we review the record of conviction to determine whether the crime of which Prudencio was convicted qualifies as a crime involving moral turpitude. See Taylor, 495 U.S. at 602. In cases such as the one before us, in which the conviction at issue was based on a guilty plea, the record of conviction is composed of the charging document, the plea agreement, the plea colloquy, and any explicit findings of fact made by the trial judge. Shepard, 544 U.S. at 15."

Prudencio v. Holder, ___ F.3d ___ (Jan. 30, 2012).

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