Los Angeles – On Friday, June 16, without opposition from the City Attorney and on the ground of a legal invalidity, a judge granted the request of Romulo Avelica to vacate his 1998 misdemeanor conviction for receipt of stolen property. Mr. Avelica is an undocumented father of four U.S. citizen children and long-time Los Angeles resident whose arrest by immigration agents while dropping his daughters at school on February 28, 2017 sparked widespread outrage. The conviction, which stemmed from an incident involving Mr. Avelica’s display of a vehicle registration sticker that he had not purchased, had previously led federal immigration authorities to hold him ineligible for certain forms of relief from deportation. As part of the vacatur, Mr. Avelica re-pled to a lesser vehicle code violation in relation to the incident. A judge had previously vacated Mr. Avelica’s only other misdemeanor conviction on grounds of legal invalidity, for which Mr. Avelica also re-pled to a lesser vehicle code violation.
Mr. Avelica appreciates the City Attorney’s efforts, consistent with state law, to limit the unjust immigration consequences of Mr. Avelica’s conviction.
Steve Escovar, attorney for Mr. Avelica, stated, “The City Attorney has demonstrated that reasonable efforts by prosecutors can help to keep families intact and avoid the severe penalty of deportation which can result from certain criminal convictions.”
Mr. Avelica’s lawyers have moved for the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider or reopen his immigration case, in part in response to Friday’s decision. Mr. Avelica’s lawyers are also asking that Immigration and Customs Enforcement stay his deportation and release him from detention while he pursues his efforts to reopen his case.