The Board of Immigration Appeals held here that a respondent's mental health at the time of committing a crime is not a factor in determining whether a conviction is for a particularly serious crime that bars withholding of removal.
In this case, the respondent was convicted of California Penal Code section 245(a)(1) (2004 version), assault with a deadly weapon, and received a two-year sentence to prison. He has a history of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, which resulted in a finding that he was mentally incompetent during the removal proceedings. The fact of the conviction, however, indicates he was not found not guilty by reason of insanity during the criminal proceedings.
The Board held that the respondent's mental health circumstances at the time of an offense may not be considered in determining whether the crime is a particularly serious crime that bars withholding of removal. It reached this conclusion despite acknowledging the well-established rule that it "evaluate[s] the nature of the conviction, the type of sentence imposed, and the circumstances and underlying facts." The Board's decision makes clear that the "circumstances and underlying facts" concern only those that indicate whether the respondent is a "danger to the community." In other words, a crime by a mentally ill person can indicate dangerousness to the community just the same as a crime by a person who is not mentally ill.