Alfred v. Garland

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 03-30-2023
  • Case #: No. 19-72903
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Bybee, C.J. for the Court; Murguia, C.J.; Thomas, C.J.; McKeown, C.J.; Callahan, C.J.; Nelson, C.J.; Miller, C.J.; Bade, C.J.; Collins, C.J.; Lee, C.J.; & VanDyke, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The distinction between principal and accomplice has been abrogated by Rosemond v. United States, 572 U.S. 65 (2014) such that a theft accomplice conviction meets the requirements to remove a non-citizen from the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(G).

Petitioner Alfred, a noncitizen, was convicted of second degree robbery and served fifteen months in prison. Upon his release, DHS proceeded to have Alfred removed from the country under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(G), which allows for removal upon conviction of aggravated theft offenses. A panel of the 9th Circuit found that Washington’s second degree robbery statute was a categorical mismatch for its generic federal equivalent, holding that Alfred should not be removed. The 9th Circuit granted en banc review.

Alfred argued that because his conviction did not specify that he was a principal in the crimes, the Court should consider the possibility that he was an accomplice which would disqualify him from removal based on United States v. Valdivia-Flores, 876 F.3d 1201 (9th Cir. 2017). The State argued the distinction between principal and accomplice had been abrogated by the Supreme Court in Rosemond v. United States, 572 U.S. 65 (2014), and even accomplice liability was a generic match sufficient for removal.

Finding that both Washington state law and the federal generic equivalent for accomplice liability required the same standard of proof, the Court overruled Valdivia-Flores and held that Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.56.190 was a categorical match with generic aggravated theft.


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