Pro Bono Client Has Conviction Vacated in Immigration Case

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented pro bono a legal permanent resident who had lived in the United States since the age of three, but faced mandatory deportation after pleading guilty to a first-time drug offense without being advised of the immigration consequences of her plea.

After serving the short jail sentence required by her plea agreement, our client was surprised to find herself transferred to a detention facility awaiting deportation and permanent exile from the only country she had ever known. Munger, Tolles & Olson obtained a bond hearing and successfully secured her release during her immigration proceedings. Munger, Tolles & Olson then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Orange County based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The petition was denied in the Superior Court, but the firm prevailed in the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District. In a published decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that our client was prejudiced by legal representation that fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and it therefore vacated her conviction.

The Munger, Tolles & Olson team included Peter E. Gratzinger and Joseph D. Lee.