Ninth Circuit To Rehear Consensual Sex Case

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The full 9th Circuit has agreed to reconsider its previous decision that the sexual abuse of a minor constitutes a deportable violent crime, even if the sexual relationship was consensual.

Juan Elias Estrada-Espinoza faces deportation for having a consensual sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl when he was 20. Both sets of parents gave their consent for the couple to live together in one of the parents' homes. They eventually got their own apartment and had a child together.

Estrada-Espinoza was convicted of statutory rape and other charges in violation of California's penal code.

In an August 2007 ruling, a three-judge panel held that the offense qualified as "sexual abuse of a child," and was an aggravated felony that triggered deportation.

The court now agrees to rehear the case en banc.

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