Justices Will Consider Deportation Law for Sex Offenders

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether the government can deport people who are not U.S. citizens if they are convicted in certain states of sexually abusing a minor.

The justices said Friday they will hear an appeal from a man who pleaded no contest to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under California law. Juan Esquivel-Quintana was 20 and 21 years old when he had sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend.

California law criminalizes consensual sex with anyone under 18 if the age difference is more than three years. But Esquivel-Quintana argues that his conduct would have been legal under federal law and the laws of 43 states that are less strict.

A federal appeals court ruled that the California conviction is enough to deport him under federal immigration law.