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13 Duke J. Const. L. & Pub. Pol'y Sidebar 1 (2017-2018)

handle is hein.journals/dukjppsid13 and id is 1 raw text is: 










SESSIONS V. DIMAYA: VAGUENESS
      DOCTRINE & DEPORTATION
                       STATUTES

                       MATTHEW   GIBBONS*


                         INTRODUCTION
   Through  a convoluted legal pathway a nonviolent crime can be
classified as a violent crime, transported into civil law, and result in the
deportation of someone who  has been legally present in the United
States for nearly twenty years. Such is the case in Sessions v. Dimaya.1
Dimaya  presents the Supreme Court with the chance to correct that
injustice by (again) holding deportation to be a penalty akin to
criminal punishment,  and   by  recognizing the  applicability of
vagueness  doctrine  to  statutes resulting in deportation. This
commentary  argues that would be the proper outcome in Dimaya for
three reasons. First, the doctrine of stare decisis requires it. Second,
this outcome conforms with the principles underlying the doctrine of
unconstitutional vagueness. Third and finally, failure to extend that
doctrine-in  the form of the criminal vagueness standard-to  this
case  would  appear  politically motivated and  inconsistent. The
appearance of extra-judicial political influence reduces the legitimacy,
and thereby the effectiveness, of the judiciary.

                            I. FACTS
   Respondent  James Dimaya  was admitted to the United States and
became  a lawful permanent resident in 1992.2 Mr. Dimaya pleaded no
contest to,3 and was convicted of, first-degree residential burglary' in


Copyright @ 2017 Matthew Gibbons.
* J.D. Candidate, Duke University School of Law, Class of 2019.
    1. Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498 (U.S. 2017)
    2. Brief for Respondent at 5, Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498 (U.S. 2016) [hereinafter
Brief for Respondent].
   3. Id.
   4. Dimaya v. Lynch, 803 F.3d 1110, 1111 (9th Cir. 2015), cert. granted, 137 S. Ct. 31
(2016), reh'g granted sub nom. Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498 (U.S. 2017).

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