Supreme Court Rules Against Automatic Deportation for Marijuana Possession

Apr 23, 2013

Adrian Moncrieffe, deportation, Holder, Jamaica, Reuters, Sotomayor

In a 7-2 vote on Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that deportation is not mandatory if a legal immigrant is convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana.

The ruling was in response to Moncrieffe v. Holder. Immigration officials automatically deported Adrian Moncrieffe, a Jamaican citizen who has lived in the United States since he was three years old, after he was convicted under Georgia law for possession and intent to distribute 1.3 grams of marijuana.

[caption id="attachment_6326" align="alignright" width="240"]chair_sonia_sotomayor1 Justice Sotomayor[/caption]

“Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote on behalf of the majority that a conviction for marijuana possession does not rise to the level of an aggravated felony if it is a small amount and the defendant was not being paid for it,” reported Reuters.

Moncrieffe could still face deportation, but Tuesday’s ruling means that he and others like him can contest the decision in further immigration proceedings.