I have been a practicing trial lawyer for over twenty-five years now. I have chosen to limit my practice, almost exclusively, to criminal and immigration related matters. Many of my clients are long term lawful permanent residents who are trying to avoid deportation-removal due to a criminal conviction. I also defend many non-citizens facing criminal charges in the New York State Courts in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties.
Because I am well versed in immigration law, I can advise my client of the direct immigration consequences of a proposed plea bargain. It is also important for them to know when they will need to go to trial if they wish to try to avoid being deported. Unfortunately, non-citizens often plead guilty without fully understanding how their guilty plea will impact them, for example, not only can certain convictions result in deportation-removal, but the conviction may also subject the person to indefinite immigration detention while their proceedings are pending. I frequently lecture on this area of the law at continuing legal education seminars, and other lawyers routinely contact me to discuss strategies for handling these difficult types of cases.
While most of my cases involve defense at the trial level, before the U.S. Immigration Courts, and New York State Criminal Courts, I also handle appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals, petitions for review before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and Federal habeas corpus proceedings - all related to deportation-removal issues. Some of the cases I have litigated have resulted in favorable decisions which have not only helped my clients, but have also benefited other, similarly situated, individuals.
Sometimes the only way a long term resident of the U.S. can avoid deportation-removal, is to vacate or reopen the underlying conviction which has caused them to be placed in proceedings. We have been able to do this for many of our clients, especially in cases where the client pled guilty to a charge without having been told by their attorney that their guilty plea would render them deportable-removable.
I am proud to say that I was active in the Central American human rights movement during the 1980's and early 1990's, and during that time I did volunteer work with one of the leading human rights groups in El Salvador. As a result of that work, I learned Spanish, and today many of my clients are from that part of the world. The best part of the work I do is helping people through difficult times, finding them a "second chance", and keeping families together..