Rangel-Zuazo v. Holder (PUB)
Juvenile adjudications/convictions; EP; 212(c)/comparability requirement;
Although Petitioner was thirteen or fourteen years old at the time of the relevant offense, the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (“FJDA”) did not apply to Petitioner’s conviction because Petitioner was charged as an adult and received his conviction after reaching majority age. Therefore, Petitioner’s conviction did not constitute a juvenile adjudication, and Petitioner was subject to removal. A rational basis exists to treat differently offenders who have reached eighteen years of age before conviction or adjudication from those who have not reached eighteen yearsof age before conviction or adjudication. As recognized by the Washington Supreme Court, a need for special “protection and reformation” of minors exists that necessitates a juvenile adjudication process and which does not apply to adults. After an offender turns eighteen, s/he is no longer entitled to the protection of the juvenile courts. There is also a rational basis for Congress to use a statutory definition for conviction that relies on the nature of the conviction, i.e., the adult versus juvenile nature of the conviction, rather than on the age of the offender at the time of the offense. It was also not unconstitutional for the BIA to apply the Blake comparability requirement. Blake did not establish new precedent, but rather confirmed that section 212(c) relief is available only if the ground charged for removability (here, an aggravated felony conviction relating to rape) has a comparable ground for inadmissibility under section 212(a) of the INA.
Susan P. Graber and Milan D. Smith, Jr., Circuit Judges, and Roger T. Benitez,District Judge