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Pagayon v. Holder

"Clarifying" its previous opinion in Cheuk Fung S-Yong v. Holder, 600 F.3d 1028 (9th Cir. 2010), the Ninth Circuit held that a noncitizen's admissions in removal proceedings could establish the link between the offense alleged in a charging document and an abstract of judgment for purposes of determining whether the conviction was for a removable offense.

S-Yong had held that admissions alone were not sufficient to meet the government's burden of proving removability (the record did not contain any conviction documents in that case). The government in Pagayon, however, did present a charging document alleging possession of methamphetamine and an abstract of judgment that indicated conviction of Health and Safety Code sec. 11377(a) for possession of an unspecified drug.

The Ninth Circuit held that Pagayon's response that possession of methamphetamine was his conviction met the government's burden of establishing that the conviction was for a deportable controlled substance offense. (Not all drug convictions involve substances that trigger deportability under federal law.)

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