CA9 Rejects Matter of Richardson: USA v. Garcia-Santana (Conspiracy Requires Overt Act)

CA9 Rejects Matter of Richardson: USA v. Garcia-Santana (Conspiracy Requires Overt Act)

"... [Matter of] Richardson [25 I&N Dec. 226 (BIA 2010)] interpreted “conspiracy” under § 1101(a)(43)(U) as referring to the common-law definition, and thus as omitting any overt-act requirement. ... We cannot accept this interpretation. ... We conclude ... that the BIA’s interpretation of the statute’s reference to conspiracy is impermissible, as that interpretation entirely ignores the one methodology properly applicable in this context — namely, the mode of analysis derived from Taylor and its progeny, which we use to determine generic crimes for the purposes of categorical analysis of prior convictions. ... We thus hold that “conspiracy,” under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(U), requires proof of an overt act, and reject the BIA’s contrary conclusion." - USA v. Garcia-Santana, Feb. 20, 2014.

[Hats off to Lauren Gorman (argued), Assistant Federal Defender; Rene Valladares, Federal Defender; and Dan C. Maloney, Research & Writing Attorney, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Reno, Nevada, for Defendant-Appellee.]