Post-Conviction Relief! Health and Safety Code section 11351.5 “Possession for Sale of Cocaine” Offense Vacated Per Penal Code § 1473.7 Motion and Charge Completely Dismissed Pursuant to Penal Code section 1382!

Recently, in Los Angeles County at the Norwalk 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 his 1995 Health and Safety Code section 11351.5 “Possession for Sale of Cocaine” conviction.

Our client hired our office to attempt to seek post-conviction relief on his behalf. Prior to hiring our office, our client had litigated a coram nobis motion with a different attorney in 2007 and it was denied by the court. Our client had also litigated a Penal Code section 1473.7 motion in 2017 with another attorney, when the statute was first enacted, that was denied. Therefore, we knew that this would be a difficult motion to be successful on since our client had previously been denied relief on two separate occasions.

After requesting and reviewing the court file and the previous post-conviction motions that had been litigated on our client’s behalf, we determined that no oral Penal Code section 1016.5 immigration advisement was provided to our client at the time of his plea. We further noted that the waiver form that our client completed at the time of his plea only advised him that his plea “may” have immigration consequences. In our motion, we argued that the negative federal immigration consequences of a charge to Health and Safety Code section 11351.5 are mandatory and permanent because the federal government considers this offense and aggravated felony and a controlled substance conviction – requiring mandatory deportation and permanent exclusion from admission to the United States.

In our motion, we keyed in on the fact that our client was unaware of alternative offenses he could have negotiated to in order to avoid the severe immigration consequences a plea to Health and Safety Code section 11351.5 causes.

After filing the motion, we provided the prosecution with an equities package detailing our clients young age at the time of the offense, his dedication to his employment in the contracting filed as a foreman, and his commitment to his wife and child. The prosecution initially opposed our motion and the court indicated it was going to deny relief. However, after strenuous negotiation with the prosecution, they decided to submit on the motion. After the offense was vacated pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7, the prosecution announced they were unable to proceed and the offense was completely dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1382.

This is an amazing result for our client after over twelve years of fighting this case in the court!

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