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Ledezma-Garcia v. Holder, No. 03-73648

By FindLaw Staff on March 29, 2010 5:07 PM

Ledezma-Garcia v. Holder, No. 03-73648, involved a petition for review of the BIA's order removing petitioner from the U.S. based on his commission of an aggravated felony of sexually molesting a minor.  The Ninth Circuit granted the petition, holding that 1) the 1988 law that made aliens deportable for aggravated felony convictions did not apply to convictions prior to November 18, 1988; and 2) neither Congress's overhaul of the grounds for deportation in 1990 nor its rewrite of the definition of aggravated felony in 1996 erased that temporal limitation.

As the court wrote:  "Ramon Ledezma-Galicia, a lawful permanent resident alien, was convicted in an Oregon state court in September 1988 of sodomy, for sexually molesting a minor. Current law provides that "sexual abuse of a minor" is an "aggravated felony" as defined by 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(A), and therefore grounds for removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). Ledezma-Galicia does not dispute that his crime is an aggravated felony. Instead, the question before us is whether Ledezma-Galicia may now be removed from the country based on his 1988 conviction, even though he would not have been deportable for that crime -- or for any aggravated felony -- at the time of his conviction. We conclude that he may not be removed, because (1) the 1988 law that made aliens deportable for aggravated felony convictions did not apply to convictions prior to November 18, 1988; and (2) neither Congress's overhaul of the grounds for deportation in 1990 nor its rewrite of the definition of aggravated felony in 1996 erased that temporal limitation."

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