Fourth Circuit on Conviction: Phan v. Holder

"We ... hold that because Phan’s 2002 conviction was set aside on rehabilitative grounds, USCIS properly considered it when passing on Phan’s application for naturalization.  In 2002, Phan was convicted by a jury in D.C. Superior Court of distribution of cocaine in a drug-free zone. Following the verdict, the court entered judgment and imposed a sentence. Although the D.C. Superior Court subsequently set aside Phan’s conviction, it acted pursuant to the rehabilitative goals of the DCYRA, which do not control the use of Phan’s conviction in the immigration context. As a result, Phan remains "convicted" of an aggravated felony under the INA, and thus, cannot satisfy the statutory requirements for citizenship." - Phan v. Holder, Feb. 1, 2012.