Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

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.

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