The U.S. Supreme court sided Tuesday with a Mexican immigrants, facing deportation after he was convicted of consensual sex with his girlfriend, who was 16 at the time.
The judges decided unanimously that, while Juan Esquivel-Quintana committed a crime, under California law, his behavior is not against Federal immigration laws.
It is a crime in California to have sex with persons under 18 years of age, if the age difference is more than three years. That applied Esquivel-Quintana, who had sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend before and after his 21st birthday.
But Esquivel-Quintana argues that his conduct would have been legal under Federal law and the laws of 43 other States that are less strict. The government countered, and said that the courts defer to the immigration officials in the Interpretation of laws that are vague.
The case is the first of the meetings in front of the Supreme Court, the name of the attorney General Jess-as a party – although the incident was confirmed in question took place before the meetings in order to his new office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.