Monday, April 20, 2009

Sixth Circuit Criticizes a Not-Precedential Third Circuit Decision About Crime Involving Moral Turpitude

A posting about a decision from another circuit court -- the Sixth Circuit. In Singh v. Holder, Nos. 07-3353, 07-4468 (6th Cir. Apr. 16, 2009), the Sixth Circuit diverged from a not-precedential Third Circuit case. The issue in question is whether intentionally placing someone in fear of physical injury should be considered morally turpitudinous. If the answer is yes, then a conviction for that crime would be a crime involving moral turpitude, which would have negative consequences such as authorizing deportation of someone who had legal permanent residence status effective since 1990, owned a liquor store, owned a BP gas station, has a wife in the US, has two teenage children in the US due to a conviction involving punching an acquaintance after a night of drinking (for which he did not get any jail time, five years of probation, and paid $6000 in restitution, fines, and costs).

In a not precedential decision, the Third Circuit held that offenses that involve placing an individual in fear of physical injury are morally turpitudinous. Campbell v. Mukasey, 174 Fed. App'x 89 (3d Cir. 2006). The Sixth Circuit heavily criticized that decision, noting that none of the three cases that the Third Circuit cited provide strong support for that proposition because they involve different types of crimes. Apprehension of assault requires no intention to harm the other person physically. Not trying to harm the other person is less inherently base, vile, or depraved than trying to hurt someone, so it is less likely to be a CIMT. The Sixth Circuit therefore remanded the case for the BIA to address the issue.


Anonymous yptothe said...

I think the Sixth Circuit opinion gets the better of this. Of course, the Third Circuit decision could be correct with respect to the NY statute at issue. But I agree with the Sixth Circuit that it can't be true as a categorical matter than intionally placing someone in fear of physical injury is a crime of moral turpitude.

10:14 AM  

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