- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Immigration
- Date Filed: 09-26-2022
- Case #: 20-71703
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Graber, J. for the Court; Owens, J.; Baker, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Petitioner was removed to Mexico in part due to being convicted of drug possession. Ten years after his conviction, a California court expunged the conviction. Petitioner sought to reopen his removal proceedings as he claimed he should get relief from removal because of his expunged conviction. The BIA denied Petitioner’s motion to reopen proceedings sue sponte because the expungement of Petitioner’s conviction did not affect Petitioner’s removal proceedings. Petitioner appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A dismissed conviction under the Federal First Offense Act (FFOA), or a similar conviction for simple possession of drugs, later expunged under a state’s rehabilitative statute, was not a “conviction” for purposes of immigration law. Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728, 749 (9th Cir. 2000). The Ninth Circuit held that the BIA erred in denying reopen proceedings sue sponte. The Court reasoned the BIA erred by misinterpreting the rule in Lujan-Armendariz v. INS and clarified that a state court defendant would only have to be eligible for relief under FFOA had their offense been prosecuted as a federal crime, not that the sentence had to match. Petition denied in part and granted in part; REMANDED.