Post-Conviction Relief! Penal Code section 484(a) Petty Theft Offense Vacated Per Penal Code § 1473.7 Motion and Renegotiated to an Immigration Safe Plea!

Recently, in Los Angeles County at the Torrance Courthouse our office successfully litigated a Penal Code § 1473.7 motion arguing that our client failed to meaningfully understand the immigration consequences that would result from her 2006 Penal Code section 484(a) misdemeanor conviction.

Our client is currently in removal proceedings based, in part, on her conviction in this matter. Prior to hiring our office, our client has been granted a dismissal of the charges pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4; however, she is still suffering dire immigration consequences as a result of the 2006 offense. Our client hired our office to determine whether post-conviction relief may be available to her.

After requesting the records in this matter, we determined that the only documents still available for this matter is the docket. According to the docket, our client pled at her arraignment while appearing pro per (self-represented). The docket purports that our client was orally advised that the plea may cause her adverse immigration consequences. However, we argued the circumstances surrounding her plea caused her to fail to meaningfully understand the immigration consequences of her plea pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7.

At the first appearance on the motion, the court expressed concern regarding whether it retained jurisdiction to hear the motion since the case had been dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. Thus, we put the matter over so that we could further brief the court on this issue. We then filed a supplement to the motion citing decisional authority showing that the court still had authority to consider and rule on the motion (i.e. Meyer v. Superior Court, (1966) 247 Cal.App.2d 133, 140).

The prosecution then filed written opposition to our motion arguing that we had failed to satisfy the prejudicial error requirement under Penal Code section 1473.7 and arguing that the prosecution would not have offered our client an alternate plea at the time our client pled.

At the final hearing on the motion, the court met with counsel in chambers to discuss the motion in detail. After this meeting, we were able to negotiate with the prosecution to submit on the motion if they would allow our client to re-plea to a Penal Code section 459, shoplifting offense. This negotiated disposition should no longer cause our client immigration consequences.

With this result, our client should now be eligible for cancellation of removal from deportation!

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