May 15, 2015 – Citizen of Yemen obtains citizenship after successful coram nobis petition

Facts: In January 2013, a citizen of Yemen entered the United States and was stopped at the border and placed in secondary inspection. Even though the citizen of Yemen had a green card, he had an 16-year old conviction for the Maryland offense of second degree assault. Border patrol released the citizen of Yemen, but he was shaken nevertheless. He sought the firm’s help.

The Firm’s Representation: In 2013, the Maryland offense of second degree assault was potentially an aggravated felony under the INA. In our client’s case, he had been sentenced to 18 months incarceration, which could have triggered an “aggravated felony” classification. The firm had no choice but to seek a belated sentence reduction by way of a coram nobis petition. Luckily, our client had no further brushes with law enforcement which always helps. The coram nobis petition was granted and our client received a probation before judgment. The firm subsequently filed an application for naturalization.

Outcome: Our client is now a citizen of the United States. This case ended up being one the most gratifying cases the firm has ever worked on. When our client first approach us, he was in medical school. Eventually, our client was approaching graduation from medical school and he was applying for residency positions. Even though our client was at the top of his class in a prestigious medical school, his conviction for second degree assault was hindering any residency program from offering him a position. After our client’s assault conviction was re-sentenced as a probation before judgment, the firm received a call from our client. He asked whether he had to indicate on his residency applications that he had a conviction. The firm told our client that, under Maryland law, a probation before judgment cannot be considered a conviction for any purpose (although for immigration purposes, a probation before judgement still remains a conviction). So, our client started sending out his residency applications that indicated that he had no convictions and subsequently residency offers started pouring in. Our client eventually accepted a residency position at prestigious hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and he is on his way to becoming a full-fledged medical doctor. Everybody makes mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. The firm was really happy to be able to help our client reach his goals.