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Supreme Court: Drug trafficking crime is any felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act

Dec 12, 2006 Supreme Court: Drug trafficking crime is any felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act

Our immigration law partner Jay Marks and I constantly fight to minimize adverse immigration law exposure from criminal charges and convictions.

On December 5, 2006, the United States Supreme Court provided important guidance in this regard, by holding in an 8-1 decision that automatic deportation of non-citizens is not permitted for a drug conviction that is a felony under state law if it is not a felony under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The case is Lopez v. Gonzales, U.S. Supreme Court No. 05-547 (Dec. 5, 2006). I previously blogged here about the October 2006 oral arguments in this quickly-decided case.

Here is some good legal analysis from the Immigrant Defense Project of the New York State Defenders Association about the implications of this Lopez case for immigrants, including confirmation that Lopez addresses limits on automatic deportation from drug convictions, rather than on adverse immigration consequences that are not automatic.

Jon Katz.

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