Recently, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Courthouse in Los Angeles County, I was able to vacate a conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 and I obtained a dismissal per Penal Code section 1382 on behalf of my client for his 1996 Health and Safety Code section 11351(Possession for Sales) conviction.
Our office conducted investigation into our client’s 1996 conviction and determined that a transcript of the plea was still available for the matter. According to this transcript, our client was advised that his no contest plea could result in his deportation, denial of citizenship, naturalization, amnesty or re-entry into the country.
We were further able to obtain the transcript of the sentencing in this matter which made clear that our client failed to meaningfully understand and knowingly accept the immigration consequences of his plea. At the sentencing, in regards to whether our client understood he could receive the maximum sentence for a violation of probation, our client stated that as long as he was not deported because he was in the process of getting his documents. We argued that this statement revealed that our client was under the mistaken belief that his conviction would not affect his ability to legally naturalize, evidencing a lack of meaningfully understanding the immigration consequences of his plea.
At the hearing on the motion we submitted a substantial equities package to the handling deputy district attorney evincing our client’s deep ties to the United States and the dire medical conditions his two youngest daughters are currently suffering from. The handling deputy district attorney stated that she intended to “submit” on the motion.
At oral argument, the judge handling the matter expressed concerns regarding the extent to which Penal Code section 1473.7 provided relief for the factual circumstances we presented in our case. After extensive oral argument in which I discussed the legislative intent behind the statute, the appellate case history in regards to Section 1473.7, the equities on my client’s behalf and the argument that my client failed to meaningfully understand the immigration consequences of his plea, the judge granted the motion per Penal Code section 1473.7.
After the conviction was vacated, the handling deputy district attorney announced that she was unable to proceed on the matter and the case was dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1382.
Based on our unmatched knowledge of Penal Code section 1473.7 and our experience litigating these motions, we were able to persuade the judge that the relief we requested on behalf of our client was exactly what was intended by the Legislature when enacting Penal Code section 1473.7.
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