January 21, 2015

FaegreBD Attorney Argues at U.S. Supreme Court in Pro Bono Deportation Case

Jon Laramore, business litigation partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, argued Mellouli v. Holder before the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 14. 2015. Business litigation attorneys Daniel Pulliam, associate, and Lucetta Pope, counsel, co-led a cross-office team of more than 30 people, including Matthew Burkhart, Peter Magnuson, Donald Morgan, Molly Moss, Nick Nelson, Sarah Mulligan and Aaron Van Oort. This pro bono case was handled in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Law School Center for New Americans. The partnership  between FaegreBD and the University has been led and overseen by Dianne Heins, pro bono counsel and director of pro bono and community service.

The legal question the Supreme Court must decide is: Can a lawful permanent resident be deported for possession of drug paraphernalia in the absence of any proof that the paraphernalia is related to a substance listed in the Federal Controlled Substance Act? In 2010, Moones Mellouli, a lawful U.S. resident and professor-turned-actuary, was charged and convicted in Kansas with possession of drug paraphernalia, a sock. He was deported without the federal government having to show that the sock contained any controlled substance on either the state or federal controlled substance schedules.

The ruling is expected to come out by the end of June.

The argument received national media coverage including the following:

NPR: Jon Laramore interviewed by Nina Totenberg; featured on All Things Considered

USA Today: Justices Sock Obama Administration on Drug Deportations

Bloomberg: How a Sock Could Lead to Deportation

PBS Newshour: Justices Sympathetic to Man Deported for Carrying Adderall in Sock

ABC News: Justices Sympathetic to Man Deported for Minor Drug Crime

Washington Post: Justices Parse Federal, State Laws in Drug Case that Led to Man’s Deportation

Star Tribune via Associated Press: Supreme Court Feels for Tunisian Man Who was Deported for Minor Drug Crime

Read argument transcript.
Hear oral argument.
See case details on ScotusBlog.

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