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Cohen Forman Barone Successfully Appeals Lower Court’s Denial of Lawful Permanent Resident’s Motion to Vacate His Felony Drug Conviction

An appeals court agreed with Cohen Forman Barone appellate lawyers, who argued that a lower court erroneously denied their client’s motion to vacate his conviction without the benefit of a hearing. In 2013 Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) commenced removal proceedings against Paul Roberts, a lawful permanent resident of the United States. ICE sought to deport Mr. Roberts to his native county of Jamaica due to a 2008 felony drug conviction, which was obtained in Westchester County, NY. Mr. Roberts filed a motion to vacate the conviction, alleging that his attorney, who was not licensed to practice law in New York, misadvised of him of the immigration consequences at the time he agreed to plead guilty.   Acting Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci denied the motion.

Cohen Forman Barone appealed Judge Capeci’s decision to the Appellate Division, Second Department. A central argument in their appeal was that considering Mr. Roberts’ long standing status as a permanent resident of the United States and ties to the country he would not have pleaded guilty had he been properly advised of the immigration consequences. As reported in the New York Law Journal, the appeals court agreed, reversing the lower court’s decision and remanding the case for an evidentiary hearing.


Posted in: Criminal Defense, Firm News, Immigration