DC (en banc): Way off topic but important: Possibility of deportation makes a “petty” offense “serious” and requires a jury trial

Bado v. United States, 2018 D.C. App. LEXIS 258 (June 21, 2018) (en banc):

Jean-Baptiste Bado appeals his conviction for misdemeanor sexual abuse of a minor, after a bench trial, on the ground that he was denied the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. The court, sitting en banc, is asked to decide whether the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to a jury trial to an accused who faces the penalty of removal/deportation as a result of a criminal conviction for an offense that is punishable by incarceration for up to 180 days. By itself, that period of incarceration does not puncture the six month line past which an offense is deemed “serious” and jury-demandable. We hold that the penalty of deportation, when viewed together with a maximum period of incarceration that does not exceed six months, overcomes the presumption that the offense is petty and triggers the Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury. The conviction is reversed and the case remanded for a jury trial.

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