PC 597(a), (b)

PC 597(a), (b)

Offense

Torturing, abusing, animals (a)

Severely neglecting animals (b)

Aggravated Felony (AF)

Appears not to be a COV, although as always it is best to get 364 or less. See Advice.

Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)

597(a). Assume this is a CIMT.1See Matter of Ortega Lopez, 27 I&N Dec 382 (BIA 2018) The Board held that commercial dog fighting, causing animals to suffer and die for entertainment, in violation of 7 USC 2156, a federal dog-fighting law, is a CIMT because it causes animals to suffer and die for entertainment. The Ninth Circuit deferred. Ortega-Lopez v. Barr, 978 F.3d 680, 681 (9th Cir. 2020). 597(b). BIA states recklessness is a CIMT if it is a conscious disregard of known risk of imminent death or severe injury to person. 597(b) can involve gross negligence, so it should not be held a CIMT.2Moral turpitude has been found to inhere in an offense if it has as an element a conscious disregard of a known risk that causes, or creates the “imminent risk” of causing, death or very serious bodily injury. See e.g., Matter of Franklin, 20 I&N Dec. 867, 870-71 (BIA 1994) (conscious disregard resulting in manslaughter), Matter of Leal, 26 I&N Dec. 20, 24-26 (BIA 2012) (conscious disregard causing a “substantial risk of imminent death”).  PC 597(b) involves criminal negligence. People v. Speegle (1997), 53 Cal. App. 4th 1405, 14111412. The test for this is whether a reasonable person would have been aware of the risk involved; it can be found even when a defendant acts with a sincere good faith belief that his or her actions pose no risk. People v. Rippberger (1991), 231 Cal. App. 3d 1667, 1682, cited in Speegle at 1412.

Other Removal Grounds

No other removal ground.

In unpublished decision, Ninth Cir upheld BIA finding that applicant’s 597(a) conviction was of a “particularly serious crime” and thus a bar to asylum, withholding.3See Madrid v. Holder, C.A.92013, 541 Fed.Appx. 789, 2013 WL 5530009.

Advice and Comments

COV. 18 USC 16(a) includes force against “the person or property of another,” but not one’s own property. PC 597(a) is not divisible between animals that are one’s own versus another’s property.

PC 597(b) involves neglect rather than recklessness, so that even if the Supreme Court holds a COV can involve recklessness in pending Borden v. U.S., gross negligence ought not to qualify; see CIMT endnote. See further discussion of COV at 207.

2021-05-18T17:53:19+00:00Updated May 18th, 2020|