We are frequently retained to assist individuals on post conviction relief petitions so as to avoid deportation. The deportation can result from any number of criminal convictions but most often involves some type of drug offense. In this regard, Federal Law allows for deportation whenever an individual is convicted of a drug charge other than one involving possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.
Monday evening I was consulted by a family in dire need of assistance. The father in the household had immigrated to the US in 1990. In 1995, he was convicted of a drug possession charge that was ultimately dismissed via a conditional discharge in 1996. The gentleman applied for a green card years later in or about 2008. It was his desire to obtain adjustment of his status in the United States to Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder). His application for adjustment was reviewed and he was directed to provide proof that his conviction was based on possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. Unfortunately, there was no lab report to indicate the weight of the drugs and, based thereon, Homeland Security concluded that he was not only not entitled to adjustment but should be detained for deportation. The gentleman had been in detention for almost two weeks by the time the family got to me. The indication was that he would be deported within 10 days.
I immediately prepared a petition for post conviction relief that sought an Order concluding that, as a matter of law, the conviction was based on less than 30 grams of marijuana. Based on the fact that the police report confirmed that the marijuana comprised one joint and a small tin foil of green vegetation believed to be marijuana, it was my position that our client could not have possessed a prohibited amount of drugs. The Court agreed with my claim that these items simply could not amount to 30 grams of marijuana and filed an Order confirm that this was the case. The Order shall prevent the gentleman from being deported and it is also hoped that it will allow him to obtain the waiver necessary for him to become a permanent resident of the United States.