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Supreme Court rules for immigrant in drug conviction deportation case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] ruled Tuesday that immigrants convicted of conduct that is a felony under state law but is only a misdemeanor under the Controlled Substance Act are not subject to deportation under the Immigration and Naturalization Act [text]. In Lopez v. Gonzales [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], Jose Lopez, a legal permanent resident in the US, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the possession of drugs after being arrested in 1997. He argued that his conviction was not a felony under the Controlled Substance Act but the US Court of Appeal for the Eighth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that any drug conviction that would be a felony under state or federal law is an aggravated felony under the INA. In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court ruling. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Souter, along with a dissent [text] from Justice Thomas. AP has more.

Also Tuesday, the court issued a one-sentence per curiam opinion [PDF text] dismissing the writ of certiorari for Toledo-Flores v. US, a case consolidated with Lopez for oral arguments, as improvidently granted.

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