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Lopez v. Gonzalez

United States Supreme Court
127 S. Ct. 625 (2006)


Facts

Lopez (defendant) entered the United States illegally in 1986 and became a legal permanent resident in 1990. In 1997, Lopez was arrested in South Dakota and pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting another person’s possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to five years in prison and was released after 15 months. After he was released, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began removal proceedings on the grounds that he was convicted of a controlled substance violation and an aggravated felony. Lopez did not contest the controlled substance violation, but contested the fact that he committed an aggravated felony, which would make him ineligible for cancellation of removal. The immigration judge ruled that it was an aggravated felony, and the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on Lopez’s appeal. 

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

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