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CRIME OF VIOLENCE

18 U.S.C. §16. Crime of violence defined
The term “crime of violence” means-

(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or

(b) any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

18 USC 16: Crime of violence defined

A person has been convicted of an aggravated felony if the conviction is for a “crime of violence” and the sentence is at least on year. See INA § 101(a)(43)(F). The definition of “crime of violence” is, in turn, defined by 18 U.S.C. § 16. Aggravated felonies constitute both a ground of deportability and a bar to several forms of relief in removal proceedings See, e.g., INA §§ 237(a)(2)(A)(iii); 240A(a).

The first subsection of the crime of violence definition at 18 U.S.C. § 16(a) provides that “an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another” is a deportable offense if the sentence is at least one year. The second subsection states that a crime of violence includes “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used in the course of committing the offense.” 18 U.S.C. § 16(b). This section swept in offenses that involved no violent force, such a burglary or evading the police.

The Supreme Court had previously held that a similar statute was unconstitutional in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). In Sessions v. Dimaya SCOTUS issued a decision on April 17, 2018, holding that the second clause of the definition of “crime of violence” as used in the definition of an aggravated felony is unconstitutionally void for vagueness.