U.S. v. Melendez-Castro, No. 10-50620 (1-18-12)(Per curiam with Nelson, Gould, and Ikuta).
In a collateral attack on a prior deportation, the 9th finds that the defendant had not been meaningfully informed of his eligibility for a voluntary departure. He appeared before the IJ in in 1997, having a petty offense conviction for stealing $6 briefs, and the IJ stating that he never uses his discretion to cancel removal if the defendant has a criminal conviction. The 9th concludes that although the defendant had been given his right to seek cancellation, he was basically told in the same breath that it was meaningless. The 9th remands for the district court to consider prejudice. The 9th paints a sympathetic portrait of the defendant (hint hint) of being a hard worker and pretty much law abiding with extended family here, all lawfully.
Congratulations to Amy Kapoor of the Federal Defenders of San Diego.