581 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2009), 06-73733, Verdugo-Gonzalez v. Holder

Docket Nº:06-73733.
Citation:581 F.3d 1059
Opinion Judge:CLIFTON, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:Leonardo VERDUGO-GONZALEZ, Petitioner, v. Eric H. HOLDER Jr., Attorney General, Respondent.
Attorney:Kristine L. Wilkes, Lola A. Kingo (argued), and Meghna Subramanian, Latham & Watkins LLP, San Francisco, CA, for the petitioner. Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General, David V. Bernal, Assistant Director, Russell J.E. Verby, Trial Attorney, Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General, Ba...
Judge Panel:Before BARRY G. SILVERMAN, RICHARD R. CLIFTON, and MILAN D. SMITH, JR., Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 14, 2009
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1059

581 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2009)

Leonardo VERDUGO-GONZALEZ, Petitioner,

v.

Eric H. HOLDER Jr., Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 06-73733.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

September 14, 2009

Argued and Submitted July 17, 2009.

Page 1060

Kristine L. Wilkes, Lola A. Kingo (argued), and Meghna Subramanian, Latham & Watkins LLP, San Francisco, CA, for the petitioner.

Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General, David V. Bernal, Assistant Director, Russell J.E. Verby, Trial Attorney, Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General, Barry J. Pettinato, Assistant Director, Shelley R. Goad, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Zoe J. Heller (argued), United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for the respondent.

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Agency No. A036-909-171.

Before BARRY G. SILVERMAN, RICHARD R. CLIFTON, and MILAN D. SMITH, JR., Circuit Judges.

CLIFTON, Circuit Judge:

Leonardo Verdugo-Gonzalez petitions for review of an order that he be removed from the United States to Mexico. He was held ineligible for cancellation of removal because he had previously been convicted of an aggravated felony. He argues that his felony conviction for receipt of stolen property under section 496(a) of the California Penal Code did not constitute an aggravated felony, but we conclude that a conviction under that statute categorically qualifies as an aggravated felony for these purposes. We thus deny the petition for review.

I. Background

Verdugo-Gonzalez is a native and citizen of Mexico and has resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident since 1981. He was convicted in 2004 for felony receipt of stolen property in violation of California Penal Code section 496(a) and was sentenced to serve sixteen months in prison.

Removal proceedings were later initiated against him, and an immigration judge (" IJ" ) ordered his removal to Mexico. Among other things, the IJ concluded that Verdugo-Gonzalez was statutorily ineligible for relief in the form of cancellation of removal because he had been convicted of an aggravated felony. Verdugo-Gonzalez appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (" BIA" ), which adopted and affirmed the IJ's decision. Verdugo-Gonzalez timely petitioned this court for review of the BIA's decision.

II. Discussion

Cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(a) is not available to someone who has been convicted of an aggravated felony. An aggravated felony for this purpose is defined by the statute to include " a theft offense (including receipt of stolen property) or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment [is] at least one year." 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(G).

In determining whether a conviction for a given crime constitutes an...

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