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James Baria Corpuz v. Holder

Relief under former section 212(c) is unavailable for a permanent resident who has served a "term of imprisonment" of more than 5 years for conviction of an aggravated felony, but what if part of that was credited for time spent in civil psychiatric pre-trial confinement pending a determination of competence to stand trial? In an unpublished 1 member decision, the Board held that the entire 392 days that Corpuz spent in that civil confinement does count, which pushed him over 5 years.

The Ninth Circuit disagreed. It found that the common meaning of imprisonment does not include civil confinement, but it declined to entirely disregard Corpuz's time in civil psychiatric confinement because Corpuz did receive credit from the sentencing judge for that time. The court found that counting all of it, though, would be unfair because there is no credit for good conduct and the confinement can last a long time compared to typical pre-trial confinement. The court thus attempted to achieve what it determined was the statutory purpose by holding that the immigration judge should determine how long the confinement would have been if there was good time credit. It called this constructive good time credit.

Something tells me there will be a petition for rehearing in this case, although grant of en banc rehearing seems unlikely given Corpuz's situation would seem to be rare and there is no conflicting precedent.