Mulcahey v. Catalanotte

RESPONDENT: Catalanotte
LOCATION: Congress

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 353 US 692 (1957)
ARGUED: Mar 27, 1957
DECIDED: Jun 03, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Mulcahey v. Catalanotte

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1957 in Mulcahey v. Catalanotte

Earl Warren:

Number 435, John F Mulcahey, District Director of Immigration and Naturalization Service, Petitioner versus Guiseppe Catalanotte.

Mr. Fisher, before you get in -- into the details of that case, would you mind commenting on -- on that last sentence in your -- in your reply brief and the section of the law that Mr. Carliner just referred to where you say, “And the aliens abroad could even claim the preservation of a status of admissibility”?

Roger D. Fisher:

Yes, Your Honor, I'd be pleased too.

The statute contains as Mr. Carliner just pointed out, a specific provision that aliens who have received an immigrant visa shall be governed by the former law.

As Mr. Carliner suggests that the savings clause be construed that every alien in the world by or gather his instructions has a -- his admissibility status shall be determined by the law at the time whatever he did when he was born, when he would lived, whatever the prior law was.

This would mean that all the provisions of the 1952 Act would have prospective effect only as to persons, aliens not yet born who presumably had not status of admissibility under the old law, that if any new -- any change that was made between prior grounds and new grounds, and a new statute could not affect any living alien because in his view, an alien who was admissible under the old law of that status which would continue.

I believe that the expressed provisions, which he called Your Honors attention does apply to aliens who have filed, who have immigrant visa, it does not apply to aliens in general.

That if -- I'm turning it to a former case which is the Carson case.

If he has had his status adjusted, if he had had something which made him non deportable, which is valid of the new law, the new law would apply and he'd be nondeportable.

Earl Warren:

You may now proceed with the other matter please.

Roger D. Fisher:

Thank you, if it please the Court.

Number 435, regarding Mr. -- the respondent, Catalanotte, it's the second of the two cases we start talking about yesterday and raises the same question of retroactivity of the deportation provisions.

Respondent Catalonotte entered the country in 1920 from Italy.

He, at no time became naturalized or had any -- took any steps toward becoming American citizen.

Deportation proceedings were began in 1953 on two grounds, a narcotics conviction in 1952, and a conviction of two offenses involving moral turpitude, a 1924 conviction and 1934 conviction, as proceeding in stolen property and malicious threats to extort.

While the proceedings were pending, the 1952 narcotics conviction was reversed on appeal, the arraigning ground with the two prior crimes involving moral turpitude.

Respondent succeeded in having the 1924 and the Detroit Court opened up the 1924 case, changed his plea to not guilty and dismissed the 1924 conviction.

The immigration service then filed a charge, which is the sole basis for the present in the case at this time.

This was a conviction in 1925 of a narcotics violation.

It's the violation of the Act of 1914, which was not a deportable offense in 1925.

And if I may come back to yesterday on the narcotics offenses, some narcotics violations were deportable offenses in certain federal step -- first, to a certain one federal statute than it was a certain federal statute and the present Act makes any violation of any narcotics law a deportable offense.

The special inquiry officer in the Board of Immigration Appeals both found respondent deportable.

So, a habeas corpus where as the District Court denied, the Court of Appeals reversed and ordered the respondent discharged.

The Government sought certiorari to which this Court granted.

This is -- it comes up from the Sixth Circuit of the same Court, which decided the Carson case.

The sole question in issue is whether the provisions of Section 241, here specifically 241 (a) (11) relating to prior convictions for narcotics shall be governed -- where the deportability should be governed for narcotics conviction, should be governed by the new law or by the old law.

Listening to respondent in the previous case, he seems to imply that the -- both the language can reasonably be read.

The language of statute may reasonably be read to apply only to future convictions of narcotics.

The new law does not apply to make anyone deportable who was not deportable before.

It seems to imply and the legislative history supports that construction.