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.)


Andrew Puzder Says He Will Fiercely Defend American Workers As Secretary Of Labor

President-Elect Donald Trump announced  on Thursday  he intends to nominate fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary. On Friday, Mr. Puzder released the following statement on American workers, immigration, and his plans for the Labor Department: "My job as a business person is to maximize profits for my company, employees and shareholders. ... (click for more)

Corker, Alexander Say Water Bill Will Strengthen Tennessee Infrastructure And Commerce

Senator Lamar Alexander said on Saturday the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act will help protect business and jobs across the country by authorizing funding to build, repair and maintain the country’s water infrastructure. "Improving locks, dams and other water infrastructure projects is one of the best ways the federal government can help protect ... (click for more)

Tennessee Members Of Congress Urge President To Approve Federal Disaster Assistance For Tennessee Counties

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation on Saturday urged President Obama to quickly approve Governor Haslam’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee to help five Tennessee counties impacted by wildfires and severe weather in November rebuild and recover. “Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual ... (click for more)

Grohn Says Integrity And Ethics Lacking In Berke Administration

Mayoral candidate Larry Grohn criticized controversies and instability coming from the mayor’s administration as a sign of unethical leadership and a lack of integrity. He said, "These scandals lay out the simple fact that it is time for new leadership which is accountable to the people." Councilman Grohn’s criticism comes after the independent auditor’s release of a memorandum ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: John Glenn’s ‘Hero’

When John Glenn became the first man to orbit earth, the timing was perfect. I was 13 years old at the time, in need of a hero, and I latched on to the astronaut tighter than a tick. All of us boys knew he’d flown 150 missions in fighters in World War II and Korea and, believe me, he was “The Right Stuff” long before the great movie about the Mercy 7 daredevils came out about 30 ... (click for more)