CA9 on Conviction, Finality: Planes v. Holder

Majority - "Every circuit that has given a reasoned opinion on the interpretation of “conviction” in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) has reached the same conclusion as the panel does here, namely, that “[t]he term ‘conviction’ means, with respect to an alien, a formal judgment of guilt of the alien entered by a court,” regardless whether appeals have been exhausted or waived."

Dissent - "This is not what the law requires, and not what Congress intended. The panel arrived at its holding only by disregarding Congress’ intent and asserting that the language of the statute is clear, all while ignoring (in fact, not even mentioning) the fact that this same language had long been interpreted to include the finality rule. The decision is all the more egregious because the panel expressly reached beyond its review power to adopt a rule providing for such unconscionable treatment to immigrants in our country, including longtime lawful permanent residents with U.S. citizen children. Because this is an issue of exceptional importance that was erroneously reached and wrongly decided, I strongly regret our failure to rehear the case en banc and must respectfully dissent."

- Planes v. Holder, June 5, 2012.