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Luis Felipe Juarez Alvarado v. Holder

The Ninth Circuit upheld a finding of deportability for conviction of an offense relating to a substance prohibited by the federal Controlled Substances Act because circumstantial evidence established that a document in the record was the factual basis for the plea and that factual basis established the conviction involved methamphetamine.  In the underlying criminal case, Juarez-Alvarado pleaded guilty to Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3407(A)(1), but not as originally charged in the indictment returned against him.  He pleaded to count 1 as modified.  The Ninth Circuit therefore held that the government could not establish he was deportable by relying on the original indictment.  However, the government also presented a document from the court record (lacking a title or date) that purportedly was the factual basis incorporated into the plea.  Juarez-Alvarado disputed that it was.  The court considered the circumstantial evidence in the record (of page numbering, location of certification stamps, etc.) and found that the document indeed was the "attached description of the statutory elements and factual basis" referenced by the guilty plea.  Since that document indicated the conviction was for possession of methamphetamine, the court found it established deportability.