9th Circ. Backs Removal Order Over Animal Abuse

By Jennifer Doherty (November 17, 2021, 4:04 PM EST) — The Ninth Circuit dismissed a Mexican man’s deportation appeal, finding that his past state conviction for animal cruelty encompassed both a guilty mental state and reprehensible actions, qualifying him for removal, despite his claim that he injured the animal accidentally.

A three-judge panel backed the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision, which found that Humberto Cortez Puentes’ guilty plea in a 2015 incident in which a horse was dragged behind a vehicle down a gravel road fulfilled the board’s two pronged test for determining whether a crime involves moral turpitude.

Though vaguely defined in federal immigration statutes, such crimes, which include those…