Tenth Circuit Invalidates Part of “Crime of Violence” Definition as Unconstitutionally Vague

HomeNews & EventsTenth Circuit Invalidates Part of “Crime of Violence” Definition as Unconstitutionally Vague

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Tenth Circuit Invalidates Part of “Crime of Violence” Definition as Unconstitutionally Vague

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The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over immigration cases in Colorado, on Monday ruled in a case called Golicov v. Lynch that a portion of the immigration law’s “crime of violence” statute is unconstitutionally vague.

Section 16 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code defines the term “crime of violence” to include any felony that, “by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”  This definition is incorporated into immigration law statutes defining aggravated felonies and domestic violence.

The Tenth Circuit joined the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits in ruling this residual clause to be unconstitutionally vague.  Following this ruling, a conviction can only be deemed a crime of violence if the offense “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or the property of another.”

People who have experienced immigration consequences as a result of a conviction for a “crime of violence” should consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to see if the Golicov case changes their prospects or allows for a motion to reopen a concluded case.  Contact our office if you would like to schedule a consultation.



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