Baptiste v. Attorney General United States, No. 14-4476 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Baptiste, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, was admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident in 1972. In 1978, Baptiste was convicted of atrocious assault and battery in New Jersey and was sentenced to a suspended 12-month term of imprisonment. In 2009, Baptiste was convicted of second-degree aggravated assault, N.J. Stat. 2C:12-1b(1): “A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he . . . [a]ttempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury.” The Board of Immigration Appeals ordered his removal as an alien convicted of an “aggravated felony,” 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), defined as a “crime of violence,” 18 U.S.C. 16; and two crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMTs) under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii). Analyzing the statute under the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision, Johnson v. United States, which invalidated the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), as unconstitutionally vague, the Third Circuit concluded that the section 16(b) definition of a crime of violence is unconstitutionally vague, so that Baptiste was not convicted of an aggravated felony. The court held that Baptiste is nonetheless removable based on the two CIMTs. Baptiste may apply for relief from removal that was previously unavailable to him as an alien convicted of an aggravated felony.