Justin Bieber is in more than a little trouble right now.
If proven, two words — moral turpitude — could see the Canadian declared “inadmissible” for work status in the US, or deported if he is convicted of either a felony or misdemeanor vandalism for allegedly egging his neighbor’s Calabasas, CA home on January 9.
It’s an archaic term, but essentially moral turpitude means “evil intent.”
According to Wikipedia, it can be described as an:
“Act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman.”
Bieber has not yet been charged with regard to his alleged role in the egg-throwing incident, but odds are a jury would be hard pressed to see egging as anything like moral turpitude.
Nevertheless, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s have strongly recommended felony vandalism charges be brought against the 19-year-old when they handed the case over to the District Attorney last Thursday, CNN reports.
“I went to the D.A.’s office today with the paperwork, and I want a felony,” lead investigator Lt. David Thompson told TMZ. “Of course I want a felony.”
The celebrity gossip website says Sheriffs think moral turpitude is demonstrated by dialogue heard from an unseen male in an amateur video of the egging incident purportedly filmed by the neighbor’s family.
The video didn’t show Bieber but revealed an F-bomb filled row between the neighbor and the unseen male. At one point on the clip, a voice that is not the neighbor’s says, “F**k you. I got another one for you actually.”
Under US guidelines for what constitutes moral turpitude regarding crimes against property, the definition is “malicious destruction of property.”
So how strong is the vandalism case against Bieber?
Despite previous contrary statements, it’s reported investigators were able to retrieve footage from the star’s seized home surveillance video that clearly “shows Bieber in the vicinity of the area where the egging occurred at the time of the attack,” TMZ writes.
The site added Justin is not seen throwing eggs, but is allegedly seen near to his neighbor’s house at the time in question.
Citing law enforcement sources, TMZ allege a 911 call heard in the amateur video during the egg-throwing attack syncs with the time Bieber is allegedly seen on the surveillance video.
Prosecutors are now reviewing the surveillance video, the neighbor and his 13-year-old’s daughter’s witness statements, and the home amateur video among other items.
There are a range of penalties for those convicted under California’s vandalism law:
Under state law, vandalism-caused damages that exceed $400 becomes a “wobbler.”
This means the D.A. gets to decide whether to press charges as a felony or misdemeanor. In the egging case, the neighbor claims his house incurred damages of $20,000. Because the figure is over $10,000, it pushes fines potentials up to $50,000.
A misdemeanor conviction under Penal code 594 can mean up to one year in a county jail, a maximum fine of up to $50,000 — and/or probation.
Felony vandalism under Penal code 545 can mean probation and up to one year in a county jail, or a jail term of 16 months to two to three years, and / or a fine of up to $50,000.
Bieber works and resides in the US under an 0-1 work permit, granted to select creatives for “exceptional abilities.”
If Bieber is convicted of either felony or misdemeanor vandalism, under section 212(a)(2)(a)(i) of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act), it could mean when he needs to renew his permit there’s a strong chance he could be denied.
A We The People petition currently demanding the deportation of Bieber has over 250,000 signees. Last week, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, revealed a White House response which kicked in at 100,000 names, will be coming “relatively soon.”
Do you think a possible egging conviction for Bieber amounts to moral turpitude under US immigration law, or are Los Angeles police over-egging the case because of their history with the singer?