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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Practice Tip: US Supreme Court Grants Cert on Whether a State Drug Possession Offense Constitutes a "Drug Trafficking" "Aggravated Felony” (NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project )

  • Organization: NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project
  • Author: Manny Vargas
  • Document Type: Training materials
  • Date Created: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
  • Submitted: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
  • Attachment(s): PDF

On April 3, 2006, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Lopez v Gonzales (Docket No. 05-547) and Toledo- Flores v US (Docket No. 05-7664). These cases raise the important issue of whether a state felony offense of simple possession of a controlled substance is a "drug trafficking" "aggravated felony" for federal immigration and sentencing purposes when such offense would be deemed a misdemeanor under federal law. The IDP, along with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the National Association of Federal Defenders, the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, had in January prepared and submitted an amici curiae brief in support of cert in the Lopez case, which raises the issue in the immigration deportation context. The Toledo-Flores case raises the issue in the context of the criminal sentence enhancement for the federal crime of illegal entry into the US following a prior conviction of an aggravated felony.

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