Mellouli v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: June 30, 2014
  • Case #: 13-1034
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 719 F.3d 995 (8th Cir. 2013)

Whether a drug paraphernalia conviction "relates to" a controlled substance within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(B)(i).

Petitioner was convicted of violating a state statute regarding drug paraphernalia. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordered Petitioner removable from the country because the drug paraphernalia conviction “related to a controlled substance” within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(B)(i). Petitioner appealed this decision, and the Eighth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that BIA’s conclusion was reasonable in that the conviction relates to a federal controlled substance because the conviction involves a crime associated with the drug trade. The Eighth Circuit also held that since documents from outside the record of conviction were not used for proving the element of a crime, they could be used by the government to determine whether the conviction fell within an exception in §1227(a)(2)(B)(i).

Petitioner argues that the deep split between the Eighth and Ninth Circuits and the Third and Seventh Circuits on the issue of whether a paraphernalia conviction needs to be related to a specific substance listed on a federal schedule, coupled with the evolution of congressional statutory language on the subject and the fact that the Eighth Circuit’s ruling creates a different standard for paraphernalia convictions than for possession convictions, shows the case at hand presents an issue that needs to be addressed by the Supreme Court. Certiorari was granted.

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