Immigration Law

CA1 on Categorical Approach: Peralta Sauceda v. Lynch

Peralta Sauceda v. Lynch, Apr. 22, 2016 - "Jose Ricardo Peralta Sauceda, who entered the United States illegally in 1993 from Honduras, conceded in 2007 that he was removable but requested cancellation of removal. He now petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") affirmance of an immigration judge's ("IJ") decision that he was not eligible for cancellation of removal, based on extreme hardship to his wife and son, because he had failed to meet his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he had not previously been "convicted of" a "crime of domestic violence" in 2006. See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1227(a)(2)(E)(i), 1229b(b)(1)(C).

Peralta Sauceda and the government agree that the competent evidence that exists regarding his 2006 Maine conviction for assault cannot definitively show whether Peralta Sauceda was in fact convicted of a "crime of domestic violence," as defined by federal law. In an initial opinion, now withdrawn, we had denied his petition for review, based on the arguments then before us. See Peralta Sauceda v. Lynch, 804 F.3d 101 (1st Cir. 2015), reh'g granted, opinion withdrawn by Sauceda v. Lynch, No. 14-2042, 2016 WL 760293 (1st Cir. Feb. 3, 2016).

Peralta Sauceda petitioned for rehearing and for the first time presented a developed argument based on the Supreme Court's decision in Moncrieffe v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 1678 (2013). We granted rehearing and took additional briefing from the parties. See Sauceda, 2016 WL 760293, at *1. We also acknowledge the helpful briefs amici curiae filed.

We are now convinced, despite strong arguments to the contrary by the respondent, that the issue before us is one of law and that Moncrieffe requires us to reach a different outcome than before. So we grant the petition and remand to the agency."

[Hats off to Brian P. Goldman, with whom Robert M. Loeb, Thomas M. Bondy, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Carlos E. Estrada, and Estrada Law Office were on brief, for petitioner; Jayashri Srikantiah, Lisa Weissman-Ward, Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Mills Legal Clinic, Stanford Law School, Manuel Vargas, Andrew Wachtenheim, and Immigrant Defense Project, on brief for Immigrant Defense Project, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Detention Watch Network, Committee for Public Counsel Services, New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Boston University Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Suffolk University Law School Immigration Clinic, Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, Ninth Circuit Appellate Project at Boston College School of Law, and Professors Mary Holper, Irene Scharf, and Anna Welch, amici curiae in support of petitioner!]