The Immigration Consequences of the Conviction of Conspiracy (MCL 750.157 a)

Recently, the crime of conspiracy has been at the forefront of removal proceedings in the field of immigration law. While the charge itself can be highly manageable with a competent criminal defense attorney, the issue of deportation and incarceration have made the issue far more complex. To discuss this matter in greater detail, we spoke to several of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and created what is considered by many the top criminal defense firm across the state of Michigan. Grabel spoke on the topic when he said, “When dealing with immigration issues in the field of criminal law, we always must look to see if the crime itself is one of moral turpitude. With conspiracy, if the underlying charge is a crime of moral turpitude the conspiracy charge is as well. The offer of a probationary sentence can trigger removal if that is the case.”

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, “Another thing we must examine is these scenarios is if we have an aggravated felony. With this crime, we must see what the principal crime is to provide proper guidance to our client.”

Nancy Eaton-Gordon is a top defense lawyer in Lenawee County, Michigan. Eaton-Gordon added “From my experience with the crime of conspiracy, the dangerous thing we must fight is the issue of the “Merger Doctrine.” We learn in law school and on the Michigan Bar Exam we have a crime that while often deemed inchoate can stand alone. This issue presents a hurdle for us when balancing the criminal and immigration dynamic.”

Ravi Gurumurthy is a top criminal defense lawyer in Northern Michigan and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Gurumurthy added to the words of Eaton-Gordon by saying “The crime of conspiracy often falls into the immigration catchall. Generally, we look to crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies but with this charge, we often see other grounds of deportation and inadmissibility. It is a pitfall for the uneducated lawyer and plea deals on their face can have more severe consequences than most realize.”

Jordan Vahdat is a partner at Vahdat Weisman and is a successful civil litigator but also has been a prominent criminal defense lawyer and is very fluent in Spanish. Vahdat said “Another issue we have is the language barrier that often occurs during this process. Some top lawyers still need an interpreter so that creates an added issue to deal with. When a client is facing prison, jail and/or probation, communication must be central to diligence. We have had success based upon strong communication with our clients and breaking down that added barrier.”

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. Amadeo indicated, “Study of case law does not come easy with this topic. We find an abundance of criminal precedent but when the dynamic is criminal and deportation we must dig deeper. In “Matter of Short, 20 I & N dec. 136 (BIA 1989) we find the seminal case and even with that, we are looking at analysis from 34 years ago. As Mark Dotson taught me at Cooley Law School, we must dig outside of the box and let the court draw our line in the sand. I rather have 12 in the one than one on the bench if I’m fighting for one’s right to stay in our country.”

The crime of conspiracy leads to issues with the “Merger Doctrine”, criminal scoring guidelines and immigration consequences. A great plea today could lead to deportation tomorrow.

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