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AG Lifts Stay and Remands Matter of Chairez and Matter of Sama

After referring Matter of Chairez and Matter of Sama to herself for review of an issue relating to Descamps v. United States, and after inviting amicus briefs addressing the proper approach for determining “divisibility” within the meaning of Descamps, the Attorney General (AG) lifted the stay and remanded the two cases to the BIA for any appropriate action in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 23, 2016, decision in Mathis v. United States.

Court Says Vehicle Theft Under California Law Is Not a CIMT

The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA’s precedent decision in Matter of Almanza-Arenas, which held that a conviction for vehicle theft under California Vehicle Code §10851(a) constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). The court remanded to the BIA, holding that, because the least of the acts criminalized under §10851(a) is a temporary taking, the statute is overbroad and thus not categorically a CIMT. The court also found that §10851(a) is an indivisible statute under Descamps v. United States.

Is a Statute Divisible for inadmissibility purposes?

The Attorney General (AG) referred two decisions of the BIA, Matter of Chairez-Castrejonand Matter of Sama, to herself for review of an issue relating to the application ofDescamps v. United States, ordering that those cases be stayed and not be regarded as precedential or binding as to the issue under review during the pendency of her review. The issue is: What is the proper approach for determining “divisibility” within the meaning ofDescamps? In particular, does Descamps require that a criminal statute be treated as “divisible” for purposes of the modified categorical approach only if, under applicable law, jurors must be unanimous as to the version of the offense committed?

Got a theft offense. Think your an aggravated felon? Think again.

The Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded, finding that a conviction under California’s theft statute is categorically not a theft offense, and thus not an aggravated felony, because the statute is both overbroad and indivisible, and such a conviction is not susceptible to the modified categorical approach pursuant to Descamps v. United States and Rendon v. Holder.

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