On December 28, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals and held that vehicle theft was not a crime involving moral turpitude or “CIMT” for purposes of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act because the offense. California’s vehicle theft law prohibits driving away a motor vehicle with or without the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. People v. Garza, 111 P.3d 310, 315 (Cal. 2005).
The Ninth Circuit found that under the formula set forth in Descamps v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013), the offense was not divisible and therefore not a CIMT. Originally, the Defendant agreed to provide the Court with the plea transcript, but later changed his mind and decided that the plea colloquy was irrelevant.
The immigration law judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals found that the Defendant was removable. The Ninth Circuit (en banc) reversed holding finding that the offense was not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. United States v Almanza-Arenas, No. 09-71415.