Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

by
In August 2000, Pablo Gonzalez pled guilty to possession for sale of marijuana. The trial court sentenced Gonzalez to 74 days in custody After serving his 74 days in custody, Gonzalez was deported in October 2000. Gonzalez reentered the United States about a year later. He subsequently was convicted of possession of a controlled substance for sale, making criminal threats, and domestic battery. In June 2002, Gonzalez was deported again. He reentered the United States, but was deported yet again in April 2017. On January 1, 2017, Penal Code section 1473.7 became effective, allowing a person no longer imprisoned or restrained to move to vacate a conviction or sentence for one of two reasons, including that "[t]he conviction or sentence is legally invalid due to prejudicial error damaging the moving party's ability to meaningfully understand, defend against, or knowingly accept the actual or potential adverse immigration consequences of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere." In August 2017, Gonzalez moved to vacate his 2000 conviction under section 1473.7. After an evidentiary hearing, the superior court denied Gonzalez's motion. Gonzalez appealed, contending the court erred in denying his motion under section 1473.7. Specifically, he claimed he established prejudicial error based on his counsel's failure to adequately advise him of the immigration consequences of his plea and failure to seek an immigration safe alternative disposition. The Court of Appeal concluded Gonzalez's arguments lacked merit, and as such, affirmed. View "California v. Gonzalez" on Justia Law

by
In 2014, Appellant pled guilty to felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a billy club. He also admitted the allegations in the motion to revoke probation in an earlier case. Appellant was sentenced to three years’ probation and a 180-day county jail term. When he entered his pleas the court explained, and Appellant acknowledged, the possible immigration consequences of his convictions. Counsel stated he had advised Appellant accordingly. Appellant was placed in removal proceedings but was granted cancellation of the removal. In 2015, Appellant was found in possession of methamphetamine for sale, resisted arrest, and attempted to destroy evidence; he was placed on probation for five years. In the new criminal case, Appellant pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 360 days in the county jail. In 2017, Appellant moved to vacate revocation of probation under Penal Code 1473.7(a)(1), alleging ineffective assistance of counsel regarding the immigration consequences of his admission and sentence. The court of appeal affirmed denial of the motion. Appellant, a convicted felon currently on formal probation, is not entitled to the relief under section 1473.7. He did not establish ineffective assistance; the trial court would not have tolerated any lesser sentence and it is unlikely Appellant would have gone to trial under the circumstances. View "People v. Cruz-Lopez" on Justia Law

by
In 2002, Morales pleaded no contest to a drug offense. He served his sentence, voluntarily departed the U.S., and reentered the country. In 2017, while residing in the U.S., he moved to vacate this conviction under the newly enacted Penal Code section 1473.71, hoping to obtain legal status via a “U visa.” Morales contended that but for his conviction, his assistance in a 2009 law enforcement investigation would have made him eligible for that visa, and that he pleaded no contest only because of the ineffective assistance of his counsel, who failed to tell him his conviction would result in his deportation and inability to ever legally reenter the U.S.. The superior court denied his motion without prejudice based on its interpretation of section 1437(b), which addresses the timeliness and due diligence required of motions filed in the face of removal proceedings. The court of appeal reversed. The lower court ignored the plain terms of section 1473.7(a)(1); interpreting subdivision (b) to prevent noncitizens from seeking relief until and unless they are subject to removal proceedings would turn a provision about timeliness and due diligence into one that guarantees delay and renders section 1473.7 ineffectual in many cases. View "People v. Morales" on Justia Law

by
In 2012, Vikash, a U.S. citizen born in Fiji, married Ashlyne, a citizen of Fiji, in Fiji in an arranged marriage. Vikash filed an immigration visa petition on Ashlyne's behalf, which was approved, and submitted an I–864 affidavit of support, under which the sponsor agrees to “[p]rovide the intending immigrant any support necessary to maintain ... an income that is at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines ... that person may sue you for this support.” According to Ashlyne, Vikash abused her and “tricked” Ashlyne into going to Fiji in 2013, where he abandoned her. Her legal permanent resident stamp was torn out of her passport. Ashlyn obtained temporary documents from the U.S. Embassy and returned to the U.S. Vikash sought an annulment. Ashlyne indicated she had applied for government assistance and argued that by signing the I–864 affidavit, Vikash agreed to support her for 10 years. The court awarded temporary support and ordered Ashlyne to make efforts to get the necessary paperwork "to work in this country if she is intending on remaining.” The court later terminated support and denied Ashlyne’s request to enforce the I–864 because Ashlyne was “not using best efforts to find work.” The court of appeal reversed. An immigrant spouse has standing to enforce the I-864 support obligation in state court and has no duty to mitigate damages. View "In re: Marriage of Kumar" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeal held that a period of supervision following deportation is impractical and inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the legislation that mandates imposition of split sentences. At the time of his sentencing, the trial court considered Arce's request for a split sentence and denied it. The trial court noted that upon his release from physical custody, defendant Jose Arce was subject to deportation proceedings initiated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The trial court found that, given the risk Arce would be deported during the period of any mandatory supervision, and thus not be subject to the probation department's supervision or able to participate in the rehabilitative services offered by the department, a split sentence was not a realistic disposition. On appeal, Arce argued the trial court should have considered the possibility that he would be able to challenge his deportation and stay in this country either temporarily while his immigration status was litigated or, although unlikely, permanently. He noted that a number of other factors that show he was amenable to mandatory supervision, including the fact that he has been in this country lawfully since 2000, had no prior criminal record, was married to a United States citizen and had three children, all of whom were also United States citizens. Split sentences are the preferred disposition in eligible cases because they provide released prisoners with close supervision and supportive services designed to substantially reduce the risk of recidivism. As a practical matter, such supervision and services are not available after a prisoner has been deported. View "California v. Arce" on Justia Law