Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Long Fight Ends in Victory

Client came to me with a serious criminal charge of aggravated assault.   Client was a long-time Legal Resident with a wife and several children.  After extensive negotiations with the prosecutor, we arranged for my client to plead to two counts of Attempted Aggravated Assault, a class A misdemeanor.  The government also agreed to stipulated to a sentence of 364 days in order to avoid the "aggravated felony" designation for immigration purposes.  Nevertheless, due to the perceived seriousness of the crime, the judge sentenced my client to 90-days in jail.

After his sentence was up, ICE arrested my client and charged him with removability based his conviction which they claimed was a crime of "child abuse".  I objected because the statute in question had no element regarding the age of the victim, which seemed to be a prerequisite for that charge.  The IJ asked the government to brief the issue, but rather than stick with that argument, the government then issued a new charge claiming they my client has been convicted of two Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude because he had been convicted of lying to a police officer some years earlier.

I immediately reviewed the old conviction and quickly determined that it was constitutionally deficient because my client had indicated that we wanted an attorney but one was not granted.  The prosecutor eventually agreed and the case was vacated on constitutional grounds.

I then filed a Motion to Terminate with the immigration court.  The court was inclined to grant the motion but the government then issued a third charge claiming that my client's conviction for two counts of Attempted Aggravated Assault were not part of a "single scheme" and therefore he still had committed two CIMTs.  This was despite the fact that the plea agreement specifically stated that the two charges were part of a single scheme of conduct.

Both sides filed motions and the case drug on for some time.  However, at the final hearing the court agreed with my arguments and the client's case was terminated.  He is now out of jail and doing fine.

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