Lee Davis: Supreme Court Says Small Amounts Of Marijuana Not Enough To Warrant Automatic Deportation

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Supreme Court held late last month that immigrants couldn’t be deported if they have been convicted of only relatively minor crimes involving marijuana. The decision, 7-2, was written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and held that Adrian Moncrieffe, a long-term U.S. resident from Jamaica, should have been given an opportunity to contest his deportation.

The case began when Moncrieffe was arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana. In 2008, Moncrieffe was pulled over in Georgia where the arresting officer found 1.3 grams of marijuana in his car. This amounts to only two or three marijuana cigarettes. Moncrieffe decided to plead guilty after being arrested and agreed to a deal with no jail time where the charge would be expunged if he complied with the terms of his probation. Two years later, immigration agents discovered the arrest and jailed Moncrieffe, ultimately deciding to deport him.

Immigration agents treated the drug arrest as a serious offense, which explains the expedited nature of his deportation. According to immigration guidelines, possessing such a small amount of marijuana was serious enough to be deemed an “aggravated felony,” a crime warranting automatic deportation.

The Court decided that for a marijuana offense to warrant automatic deportation then the immigrant must either be found to have sold the drug or possess more than a small amount of it. Justice Sotomayor wrote that under immigration law, a conviction that fails to establish that either remuneration or more than a small amount of marijuana was involved is not an aggravated felony.

The case means that Moncrieffe will be allowed to come back to the U.S. so that he can make his case that his deportation was unwarranted. The man has been here since he was three years old and has a life and family here, with nothing to return to in Jamaica.

To read the full opinion, click here

---

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)


Tennessee's Unemployment Rate For August Increased To 7.4%

Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for August was 7.4 percent, three tenths of one percentage point higher than the 7.1 July revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July. Economic Summary • Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment ... (click for more)

Tennessee American Water Announces Fall Drug-Take Back Day In Hamilton County

In partnership with several organizations, Tennessee American Water announces the fall  2014 Drug Take-Back event on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.  "The purpose of this event is to keep drugs out of the environment and off of our streets," officials said.  Local residents are encouraged to simply drive up and drop off their unused, unwanted or expired medications ... (click for more)

EPB Officials Huddle With Attorneys Over City Street Lighting Issue

EPB board members huddled with attorneys on the issue of billing for city street lights on Friday morning. EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson asked for the private session with attorneys Rick Hitchcock and Tom Greenholtz of Chambliss Bahner. Don Lepard, owner of Global Green Lighting, earlier filed a $10 million "whistle blower" lawsuit, claiming overbilling by EPB on street lighting. ... (click for more)

Woman Shot And Killed In Catoosa County Residence

A woman is dead after a shooting in Catoosa County. According to Sheriff Gary Sisk, around noon on Friday, sheriff’s deputies and investigators responded to 227 Smoketree Circle, Ringgold, Catoosa County, in reference to a subject being shot.   Upon arrival, officers located two females and one male at the residence. One of the women was observed lying at ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Troubling Jameis Winston

One of the greatest things about the American legal system is that each and every crime is judged on its own merits. Just because Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were each arrested for domestic abuse earlier this week, each National Football League football hero will be given an independent hearing and trial, if need be, ... (click for more)