As discussed in a previous post, in Silva-Trevino, ex-Attorney General Mukasey attempted to drastically revise nearly a century of jurisprudence governing the analysis used to determine whether a particular conviction constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). This post will attempt to answer the question – when are the Immigration Courts allowed to look beyond the record of conviction to determine whether a conviction for simple assault is a CIMT?
EDIT: After the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision rejecting Silva-Trevino in Prudencio v. Holder, this approach is looking more and more vulnerable to attack. Check to see whether Silva-Trevino is still good law in your circuit. I discuss the Fourth Circuit decision here.
FURTHER EDIT – IMPORTANT: The Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Descamps v. US clarified when the modified-categorical approach is to be used for determining whether a crime is a crime of violence. This has completely changed the Fourth Circuit’s analysis of whether simple assault type crimes will be a crime of violence (and therefore a CIMT). See US v. Royal (4th Cir., Oct. 2013). I imagine that the situation is changing quickly in other circuits as well.