A field of law that has become a topic of immigration proceedings of late is Neglect and Abuse cases. Neglect and Abuse (NA) cases have a lower burden than that of criminal matters, but the consequences can be extremely severe for those that are not American citizens. To discuss this matter, we spoke to several of the top lawyers in the state of Michigan.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and runs what is considered by many as the top criminal defense firm across the state of Michigan. Grabel spoke of the topic when he stated, “When a CPS Petition is followed it is often accompanied by the criminal complaint. For the average citizen, one goal is to try to avoid the criminal component while preserving one’s constitutional right to parent. With those that are not American citizens, the stakes are much higher as a successful petition can lead to removal proceedings.
Megan Smith is an Associate for Grabel and Associates and Tanis Schultz. Smith is known as a top criminal defense lawyer in Kent County and added her insight to this topic. Smith stated, “People often feel the need to fight for their right to parenting and they certainly should. With that stated, we must get creative on these cases. The rules of evidence are relaxed, and a termination of parental rights can lead to criminal charges and removal proceedings.”
Nancy Eaton-Gordon is a top defense lawyer in Lenawee County, Michigan and has been a successful Respondent Attorney in NA case. Eaton-Gordon added “From the Michigan Bar Exam standard, we see a strict scrutiny analysis when the right to parenting it being compromised. In practice, the DHHS prosecutor has a lower burden, and this becomes an issue with removal proceedings. On its face, the respondent has an uphill battle. Creativity in advocating is key.”
Ravi Gurumurthy is a top criminal defense lawyer in Northern Michigan and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Gurumurthy has experience as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer and said, “Many times the client with immigration issues is concerned about their parenting rights. However, something to consider is if a client is placed in removal proceedings, they will lose access to their children. Immigration agents are now reviewing these transcripts to deport. With that fact in place, we must take a unique view of the 5th Amendment.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers across the state of Michigan. In addition to criminal defense, Amadeo has worked as both a respondent attorney and for the Department of Health and Human Services in prosecuting such cases. Amadeo said, “In defending these matters with someone that is not a naturalized citizen, we must look at three aspects. The first is what is in front of you, the issue of termination of parental rights. From there we must weave into criminal defense. At that point we must examine the immigration consequences. From the prosecutorial standpoint we must be aware of all aspects. In the criminal aspect, we need to prevent the issue of malpractice and zealous advocacy with the realization there can be three moving parts.”
While these cases do not fall in the criminal genre, they are criminal law companion cases that can lead to deportation issues. To be aware of all aspects is required to preserve the duty of diligence and competency for the client.