Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Los Angeles Illegal Immigration

Posted on: September 21, 2009 at 6:50 p.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys who represent people trapped up in Los Angeles immigration issues must have a keen sense of the law, as well as a skilled knowledge of how to navigate Los Angeles courts.  Immigration is currently a hot button topic, as it always is, and criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles know how desperate some people can become.  With Los Angeles immigrationlaws constantly changing, it can be a challenging existence. Being an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles can be a challenging existence, and a new ballot initiative developed by several California residents is set to make it even more difficult.  The ballot initiative calls for the end of public benefits for illegal immigrants, cut off welfare payments to the children of illegal immigrants that are born in here and even goes so far as to suggest new notations on birth certificates that would indicate the foreign status of the child’s parents.  Drafters of the initiative even question at times the legal status of children born to illegal immigrant parents here in the United States on the grounds that since their parents are illegal immigrants and are not subject to the nation’s jurisdiction, the children should not be, either.  With the recent economic downturn, supporters of the initiative claim illegal immigrants and their children are draining potential billions of dollars in the state’s deficit-heavy budget.  Illegal immigrants accused of crimes in Los Angeles are in a particularly precarious position.  Aside from the obvious threat of deportation, illegal immigrants in Los Angeles could find themselves in jail and trapped in a legal limbo while immigration officials try to decide exactly what to do with them.  In many cases, illegal immigrants convicted of crimes are given prison sentences then still deported after their sentences are completed.  While Los Angeles immigration status is not supposed to be a factor in arrests or convictions, as much as 17% of California’s prisoners are not citizens of the United States.  Immigrants, whether legal or illegal, come to Los Angeles from all over the world looking for opportunity.  What many unfortunately find is racism.  If you or someone you know is an illegal immigrant being accused of a criminal offense, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today.  Our combined 50 years of courtroom experience in defending against criminal charges will fight for both your freedom and your dignity.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Los Angeles Immigration Raids

Posted on: April 9, 2009 at 6:23 a.m.

Los Angeles immigration raids have been made famous by the media, movies, historical texts and more. However, one dirty little secret that Los Angeles immigration defense attorneys know is that many U.S. citizens are taken into custody along with those non-citizens the federal agencies are so quick to remove.

Imagine the situation where you, either a naturally born citizen or perfectly legal immigrant, are arrested, held and not able to see your family for months because of an immigration raid. Well, just such a situation happened recently at an immigration raid in Los Angeles.

An ICE raid last year at a Van Nuys printer cartridge manufacturer, Micro Solutions Enterprises, generated wrongful-arrest claims from more than 100 citizens, said Peter Schey, chief lawyer at the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Los Angeles. All were held for two to three hours before being released, Schey said.

Americans seldom carry proof of their legal status, which can be a factor in the confusion about detainees' citizenship. There is no comprehensive database or list of all citizens for agents to check.

Immigration raids of factories and other work sites often result in at least a short-term detention of lawful residents and even citizens, as agents seal targeted businesses and grill workers about their status.

Officials in Washington said last month that the Obama administration was expected to rein in the controversial workplace raids -- shifting enforcement emphasis to target employers rather than workers. Immigrant advocates have long pushed for such a change, while others say easing workplace enforcement will encourage illegal immigration.

Deportation may be preventable, especially when a defendant has financial resources to bail out immediately after an arrest. In Los Angeles County, a defendant is typically transferred into Sheriff's custody from the arresting agency's jail within 48 hours of arrest. This happens ordinarily right after the arraignment. Subsequently, a criminal disposition may be reached in court without jail time. An immigration hold in Sheriff's jail is avoided, as the accused is out on bail and his immigration status is typically not checked within the court system.

If you're facing criminal immigration challenges, contact the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin today.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Immigration and Crime

Posted on: February 6, 2009 at 9:09 a.m.

Recent studies have proven what Los Angeles criminal defense and Los Angeles immigration lawyers have long been saying, that there is no real link between immigration and crime. Lawyers know that throughout the city of Los Angeles the issue of immigration often complicates criminal matters. However, recent studies back up the claim of attorneys, and hopefully that will make an impact on policy.

There is widely-held belief that an influx of immigration brings a corresponding rise in crime as immigrants settle in poorer urban areas. This widely and long held belief is wrong.

A 2008 study published by Harvard University sociologist Robert Sampson looked at the correlation between immigration and crime in several cities around the United States. As an example, between 1995 and 2000, immigration illegal immigration surged while national homicide rates actually declined.

Los Angeles saw an especially high increase in immigration during this five year period and during this same period the overall crime rate actually declined 45%. Sampson believes that part of the reason for this is that new immigrants are strongly motivated to work and get ahead and obviously want to avoid deportation.

Based on his research, Sampson found that first-general immigrants in cities such as Chicago were 45% less likely to commit a violent act than third generation immigrants were. Sampson's work flies in the face of long-standing beliefs that immigrants, illegal immigrants in particular, bring crime with them to the U.S. Any number of stories in the media depict many immigrants as criminals who take away funding, services and jobs from American citizens while flouting local law enforcement to commit multiple crimes. Such prejudicial beliefs very often influence the treatment of immigrants who are accused of crimes, making a conviction for a criminal charge more likely. Such prejudicial beliefs very often influence the treatment of immigrants who are accused of crimes, making a conviction for a criminal charge more likely. Beyond the risk of being deported, immigrants convicted of crimes can and do serve time in prison in the United States and in some cases are deported once their prison time is served anyway. Criminal cases involving immigrants are doubly complicated because they require knowledge of both criminal law and immigration law.

Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin LLP is a criminal defense law firm that knows how intricate criminal cases related to immigrants can be. They frequently confer with immigration law specialists to achieve the best results possible for their clients. If you, or someone you know, has been accused of a crime and has questionable immigration status, call us today at 818-781-1570 or 877-781-1570 (toll free).

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Jamiel's Law: A Developing Situation

Posted on: December 6, 2008 at 4:28 p.m.

Jamiel's Law is a voter initiative would allow Los Angeles police to arrest illegal immigrant gang members solely because they're illegal. The law is named after 17-year-old Los Angeles High School football player Jamiel Shaw II, who was gunned down in March allegedly by a reputed gang member who was in the country illegally. The measure would modify the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from initiating contact with individuals for the sole purpose of determining whether they are illegal immigrants.

Supporters of the proposed Los Angeles voter initiative said they collected enough petition signatures before Friday's deadline to qualify the measure for the May ballot. The signatures still need to be verified by the Los Angeles city clerk's office, a process that could take up to three weeks. Proponents, who needed to gather 73,963 signatures from valid registered voters in the city, said they had submitted more than 76,000.

Immigrant rights attorneys, advocates and LAPD Chief William J. Bratton strongly oppose Jamiel's Law, saying it is unnecessary and opens a backdoor to "racial profiling" by law enforcement. Bratton, when testifying before the City Council in April, said officers already have the authority to tell immigration authorities when known gang members have committed crimes.

The relationship between immigration and gang activity is one the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys have been exploring for decades. Los Angeles gang defense and Los Angeles immigration defense attorneys are experienced in defending people who find themselves accused of crimes or who are wrestling with immigration issues.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Immigration Consequences from Criminal Convictions - DUI Drunk Driving Charges

Posted on: October 21, 2008 at 4:24 p.m.

The immigration consequences resulting from a conviction is a frequent issue considered by defense attorneys in Los Angeles Criminal Courts. The conventional wisdom is that criminal defendants who are not citizens may face deportation if convicted for a criminal offense, felony or misdemeanor. However deportation is not automatic, nor predictable. The reality is that the more serious the criminal offense, and greater the number of prior convictions, then the greater the likelihood that INS will begin deportation proceedings in immigration court. Sometimes however even a less serious criminal conviction leads to deportation, such a Driving Under the Influence offense (California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)) -- which is quite atypical.

A recent Court of Appeal decision addressed this issue, holding that the U.S. Attorney General may decide by adjudication that a non-citizen's individual crime was

Tagged as: california criminal laws, immigration consequences, violent crimes defense




Immigration and Crime in California

Posted on: October 8, 2008 at 10:03 a.m.

San Francisco officials say a federal grand jury is investigating the city's policy of offering sanctuary to illegal immigrants. The probe focuses on whether the policy violates federal laws against harboring people who are in the U.S. illegally.

The city attorney says his office has hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent employees who might be questioned or asked for documents. Mayor Gavin Newsom says he will cooperate with the investigation.

The San Francisco law prohibits the use of city funds to help enforce federal immigration law or question individuals about their immigration status. About 80 other cities and five states have similar policies.

Immigration and criminal activity are controversial enough as separate issues, but when combined, emotions are hightened. A frequently encountered issue with Immigration proceedings and criminal law is an old conviction, or probation case, which has raised a red flag with the INS. Often the INS will begin deportation proceedings 10-15 years later, against someone who has led a trouble-free life for many years, working, raising a family, and being an overall model citizen.

There are numerous legal mechanisms to vacate, or attack, a prior conviction. We have successfully used a "Writ of Corum Nobis" in situations where clients were not advised of all immigration consequences at the time their plea was taken. Another option is to attempt to re-negotiate the old charges with the prosecutor's office, to seek an agreement that the crime of moral turpitude is dismissed, and substitute in its place an offense that is more innocuous in the eyes of the INS.

Alternatively, if you or loved one is facing an open criminal case in Southern California, a conviction may cause direct and grave consequences to one's immigration status, often leading to deportation proceedings. The INS guidelines are often very complex and our criminal defense attorneys frequently confer with immigration law specialists to properly advise clients. Before going to court, our Los Angeles criminal lawyers discuss with clients their immigration status. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP have represented numerous clients in criminal matters involving immigration.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Immigration, Deportation and Crime

Posted on: September 11, 2008 at 11:15 a.m.

When a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has a client who is not a legal citizen, the circumstances surrounding the case become increasingly difficult. One of the major challenges is that the anti-immigration forces in America rarely take a serious look at the realities of immigration.

For example, non-citizens who have been deported at least once from the United States are far more likely than other immigrants to repeatedly commit crimes, according to a study by the nonprofit Rand Corp. Realists might recognize that even erecting a wall between the United States and Mexico can't stop the flow of immigration, so properly handling these relationships would stem the flow of crime. However, many illegal immigrants are treated poorly and the criminal justice system is targeted towards sending even those accused of crimes back to Mexico. This study proves that such an approach is counterproductive as 75% of those who are deported are arrested again on suspicion of committing another crime within a year of their release.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has pursued immigrants with criminal records who have returned after being deported, posting agents in some U.S. attorney's offices in key cities to help with the cases of such offenders. Between Oct. 1, 2007, and Aug. 4, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported nearly 265,700 non-citizens nationwide, including about 83,700 criminals. Almost 17,600 illegal immigrants, including 6,400 criminals, were deported from Los Angeles County and the surrounding counties.

Finding a competent and skilled Los Angeles criminal attorney to handle immigration matters can be difficult, but there is a variety of laws and jurisdictions to handle. However, deportation may be preventable, especially when a defendant has financial resources to bail out immediately after an arrest. In Los Angeles County, a defendant is typically transferred into Sheriff's custody from the arresting agency's jail within 48 hours of arrest. This happens ordinarily right after the arraignment. Subsequently, a criminal disposition may be reached in court without jail time. An immigration hold in Sheriff's jail is avoided, as the accused is out on bail and his immigration status is typically not checked within the court system.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




California Propositions (NOV. 2008): Dangerous New Bail Law Proposed

Posted on: August 20, 2008 at 8:08 a.m.

Every November California practices its own brand of democracy by putting for propositions, many of which target criminal activity of some sort. This year is no different, and there is a highly controversial Prop. being proposed in regards to bail*.

Proposition 6, the "Criminal Penalties and Laws. Public Safety Funding. Statute" would require new state spending on various programs to combat crime and gangs, and to operate prison and parole systems. It would also eliminates bail for illegal immigrants charged with violent or gang-related felonies.

Targeting illegal immigrants is nothing new for those who attempt to get propositions onto the ballet, and non-citizens who are violent offenders are also easy targets. However, denying bail to these individuals may be denying them the rights given by the federal and state Constitutions. In fact, it seems a bit counterproductive, as non-citizens have the right to counsel from their home nation on certain matters. Attempting to keep them locked up not only keeps these non-citizens from returning to their home nations, but my infringe on their right to counsel (depending upon how the courts interpret the rule). There was a case in Texas recently where a man who was a Mexican citizen was put to death and not given the chance to speak with counsel from Mexico.

It will be interesting to see how this proposition is treated, and whether or not it passes.

*The taking of bail consists in the acceptance, by a competent court or magistrate, of the undertaking of sufficient bail for the appearance of the defendant, according to the terms of the undertaking, or that the bail will pay to the people of this state a specified sum.

Tagged as: bail and release, immigration consequences




Immigration and Crime: A Developing Situation

Posted on: August 19, 2008 at 9:28 a.m.

Over the past decade, government funding for immigration enforcement has more than tripled, laws like the 1996 Immigration Reform Act (IIRIRA) have increased the power of enforcement officers to monitor and detain non-citizens, and the immigration detention system has become the fastest growing section of the U.S. prison industry. In this climate, the dangers of over-reaching enforcement practices that breach the basic civil liberties of immigrants (and citizens alike) has grown tremendously.

A possible defense in criminal immigration cases, immigration counsel can argue that reversal of a removal order is required when an immigration judge plays an improper prosecutorial role in the proceedings. When the judge abandons his or her role as an unbiased arbiter of fact and law, and becomes a prosecutor, the court contravenes its responsibilities as a neutral fact finder.

The Immigration Court's decision should be reversed if the record clearly demonstrates that the judge played a prosecutorial role outside the scope of the court's responsibility as an unbiased trier of fact and law. The judge clearly acts as an aggressive prosecutor if s/he attempts to establish that the Respondent was guilty of a crime.

Developing situations in immigration and criminal law include:
- The increasing number of immigration raids throughout the state and the country.
- South Carolina's new bill; its central planks forces employers to screen new employees' citizenship by one of basically two ways: using a federal Web-based verification system, or by requiring an S.C. driver's license, which is only given to citizens.
- San Francisco's sanctuary ordinance, which shelters non-citizens, even if convicted of a crime.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Los Angeles Immigration Courts

Posted on: August 11, 2008 at 10:32 a.m.

The LA Times reported that the number of immigrants landing in Los Angeles Immigration Court has surged in recent years, while the number of judges has remained about the same, causing crushing caseloads and lengthy delays.

Los Angeles immigration judges heard 27,200 cases last fiscal year, up from about 17,800 in 2000. In the last fiscal year alone, the number of immigration cases rose nearly 40%.

On a recent day in Los Angeles Immigration Court, one judge had 44 cases on the docket. Every seat was filled, and a crowd waited in the hall. The judge heard the cases quickly, getting updates, asking questions and setting new court dates -- sometimes six months in the future.

Immigration is intertwined with a number of criminal matters in Los Angeles, from outstanding warrants for homicide to gang activity. A frequently encountered issue with Immigration proceedings and criminal law is an old conviction, or probation case, which has raised a red flag with the INS.

Adding to the complication of criminal matters involving immigration is LAPD's controversial Special Order 40, which prevents officers from checking on the immigration status of suspects in most cases. This law was brought up during the murder trial involving slain high school football star Jamiel Shaw Jr. Shaw was killed by a gang member who was found to have been living illegally in this country for more than a decade.

The attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP are experienced in handling both criminal and immigration matters. They are especially skilled with the various state and federal laws governing immigration.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




Federal Government Begins Immigration Plan

Posted on: August 8, 2008 at 12:32 p.m.

Federal authorities launched a pilot program this month which allows noncriminal illegal immigrants with final deportation orders to surrender rather than face possible arrest and detention.

Two Southern California cities -- Santa Ana and San Diego -- are among five cities nationwide where immigrants can turn themselves in until to August 22.

Some individuals will be given up to 90 days before being required to leave the country, and the agency will pay for the plane tickets for some.

500,000 are eligible to participate in the program, which was developed to see if it would be more effective that early morning raids on shops and factories.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it will continue to track down fugitives in Southern California and throughout the nation, arresting and removing immigrants who have criminal records or who have failed to abide by deportation orders. Last fiscal year, fugitive operations teams arrested more than 19,000 immigrants nationwide, including more than 15,600 who did not have criminal records.

The mass arrests of immigrants thoughout the nation are highly controversial, and Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto), head of the Hispanic caucus, pointed to charges that the workers did not have proper access to lawyers and were pushed into guilty pleas.

"The way the raids took place," he said, raising a copy of the Bill of Rights, "you'd think none of this was true."

The attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP are experienced in dealing with INS, Federal immigration authorities and the court system in immigration matters. For more information, please contact them today.

Tagged as: immigration consequences




How does a criminal conviction affect my Immigration Status? What if I was convicted many years ago, and only now the INS has informed me that I am subject to deportation?

Posted on: July 23, 2007 at 8:55 a.m.

Criminal convictions may cause direct and grave consequences to someone's immigration status. The INS guidelines are very detailed and complex, and the Criminal Law Blog frequently confers with immigration law specialists to properly advise its clients. Before any plea-bargaining is done, the Law Blog discusses with clients their immigration status. Often the Law Blog will seek charges that are not considered by the INS as moral turpitude offenses (ie. subject to deportation), and to convert any possible custody time to community service work.

In Los Angeles, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department responsible for running the jails verifies immigration status upon receiving an inmate. As a result, as soon as an inmate is in custody (even if charges are later dismissed), an "immigration hold" may be placed subjecting him or her to deportation proceedings. As a result, the inmate may be deported from the United States after the INS picks the inmate up from Sheriff's custody. The saddest part is that the inmate may be innocent of all charges, and still be deported because his immigration status is questionable.

Deportation is preventable. If a defendant has financial resources, it is important to bail out immediately after an arrest. In Los Angeles County, a defendant is tranferred into Sheriff's custody from the arresting agency's jail within 48 hours of arrest, which is typically right after the arraignment. Subsequently, a criminal disposition may be reached in court without jail time. An immigration hold in Sheriff's jail is avoided, as the accused is out on bail and his immigration status is typically not checked within the court system.

Another issue frequently encountered with Immigration and Criminal Court: An old conviction has raises a red flag with the INS, causing the agency to start deporation proceedings 10-15 years later, against someone who has led a trouble-free life for many years, working, raising a family, and being an overall model citizen. The Criminal Law Blog's Attorneys have represented numerous clients in this situation. There are numerous legal mechanisms to vacate a prior conviction, including using a "Writ of Corum Nobis". The typical argument to attack the conviction focuses on explaining to the court why the client was not properly advised of immigration consequences at the time of the plea, many years earlier. Another option is to attempt to re-negotiate the old charges with the prosecutor's office, to seek an agreement that the crime of moral turpitude dismissed, and substitute in its place an offense that is more innocuous in the eyes of the INS.

Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers must examine immigration consequences of every plea deal, before advising a client to take it.

Tagged as: california criminal laws, immigration consequences









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