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Cohen Forman Barone Walks Client Out of Immigration Custody After Winning Motion to Vacate His Conviction

Cohen Forman Barone client, Markis Guzman Rosario, will get to walk the streets a free man for the first time in over a year. The thirty-year lawful permanent resident was released from Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) custody after the removal proceedings against him were terminated. ICE agreed to end its year long effort to deport Mr. Rosario after his attorneys, Cohen Forman Barone, successfully argued a motion to vacate his criminal conviction for drug trafficking in Queens County Supreme Court. That conviction served as the basis of ICE’s attempt to deport Mr. Rosario.

ICE initially detained Mr. Rosario at his home on March 4, 2015, and placed him in removal proceedings due to a 2004 drug conviction obtained in Queens County Supreme Court. Despite the fact that Mr. Rosario had successfully completed probation and had no other problems with the law, the conviction is nonetheless classified as an offense that subjected him to mandatory detention under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Additionally, because the conviction was classified as an aggravated felony, Mr. Rosario was not eligible for any waivers, including Cancellation of Removal, and was, therefore, subject to mandatory deportation. His only hope was having his conviction vacated.

Cohen Forman Barone filed a CPL §440 motion to vacate Mr. Rosario’s conviction, alleging that his prior attorney misadvised his client of the immigration consequences and failed to effectively negotiate a plea that mitigated those consequences. The Queens County District Attorney’s Office adamantly opposed the motion and a hearing was conducted before the Honorable Judge Suzanne J. Melendez. In a written decision, Judge Melendez agreed with the defense and vacated the conviction. After that decision was rendered, Cohen Forman Barone filed a motion to terminate the removal proceedings in Immigration Court and was joined in the motion by ICE. Mr. Guzman, who had not seen his daughter in over one year, was freed from custody moments later. As he explained to Immigration Judge Thomas Mulligan, he was looking forward to picking up his daughter from school.

Posted in: Criminal Defense, Firm News, Immigration