Date and Time:
02/04/2016 12:00am PST
Registration Deadline:
Monday, February 1, 2016 - 4:00pm
1.5 CA

This interactive webinar is for immigration advocates, criminal defense counsel, and clean slate/re-entry workers.

In 2014 and 2015, California passed three new laws that can help immigrants who are accused or convicted of crimes. California voters passed Proposition 47, which turns some felonies and wobblers into misdemeanors, and can be used to fix prior felony convictions. The legislature created Penal Code § 18.5, which makes the maximum possible sentence for a misdemeanor 364 days instead of 365.  It also created Penal Code 1203.43, which takes effect on January 1, 2016. That eliminates a prior "deferred entry of judgment" (DEJ) as a conviction for immigration purposes.  

In many cases, these laws and other California provisions can help immigrants in “regular” immigration proceedings – for example, help them to defend against removal, or apply for a green card. They also can help undocumented immigrants qualify for the administrative forms of relief, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DACA and DAPA).

We will provide an overview of the following record-clearing statutes: 

  • Prop 47 and Penal Code § 17(b), which can be used to designate a felony or wobbler as a misdemeanor;
  • Penal Code § 18.5, which defines the maximum sentence for misdemeanors;
  • Penal Code § 1203.4, the expungement statute; and
  • Penal Code §1203.43, the new statute that eliminates a successfully completed DEJ as a conviction.

We will discuss how each of these laws, alone or in combination, can help immigrants and identify situations when they don’t help.


Kathy Brady, ILRC Senior Staff Attorney

Kathy has served with the ILRC since 1987 and has contributed to numerous ILRC projects. Kathy graduated from Stanford University and Boalt Hall School of Law. She taught immigration law as an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University and New College School of Law, and supervised students at the Stanford University Law School Immigration Clinic. Her expertise includes the immigration consequences of criminal convictions; issues affecting immigrant children and mixed families; immigration consultant and consumer fraud; naturalization; family immigration; legal status for immigrant victims of domestic violence through the Violence Against Women Act provisions (VAWA); and trial skills. She is the primary author of Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit, which in its current form and as the former California Criminal Law and Immigration has been a publication since 1990.  With Norton Tooby, she is the co-author of the 2014 CEB publication California Criminal Defense of Immigrants, and for many years was co-author of the section on defending noncitizens in the CEB manual California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice. She also is a co-author of the ILRC's Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Courts. She has helped found coalitions and projects to address these issues, including serving as a co-founder of the Defending Immigrants Partnership and the Immigrant Justice Network. She authored briefs in key Ninth Circuit cases on immigration and crimes. In 2007, she received the Carol King award for advocacy from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and she served as a Commissioner to the ABA Commission on Immigration from 2009-2012. Prior to working at the ILRC, Kathy was in private practice with the immigration firm of Park and Associates. She is conversant in Spanish.

Grisel Ruiz, ILRC Staff Attorney

Grisel joined the ILRC in 2012 through a fellowship focused on the intersection between immigration law and criminal law.  Prior to joining the ILRC, Grisel was a litigation associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.  Before Pillsbury, Grisel received the Stimson Fellowship to head a project jointly housed at the Immigration Law Clinic at UC Davis School of Law and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, through which she co-founded “Know Your Rights” programs at two local ICE-contracted facilities.  These projects provided individual representation, pro bono referrals, pro se materials, and case consultations to hundreds of detained immigrants in removal proceedings.  Grisel also provided community presentations regarding constitutional rights when confronted by law enforcement and supervised law students in removal defense cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.  Grisel is fluent in Spanish and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School where she received the Tony Patiño Fellowship.  Prior to law school she worked as a paralegal and coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center.  She attended the University of Notre Dame for her B.A.

Rose Cahn, Senior Soros Justice Fellow – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Rose Cahn is one of the chief advocates and educators in the field of post-conviction relief for immigrants.  She joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights as a Senior Soros Justice Fellow in 2014 to launch the country’s first pro bono post-conviction relief project for noncitizens.  There she works closely with legal reentry services providers throughout California to eliminate the immigration consequences of criminal convictions by the use of criminal record remedies.  Rose also engages in community outreach and education, policy advocacy, and impact litigation to promote reforms in the field of criminal and immigration law.  Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, she worked at the Law Office of Norton Tooby, where she litigated hundreds of post-conviction relief cases in federal and state courts and authored and edited numerous treaties, including California Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants, along with nationally circulated criminal-immigration law practice advisories and articles.  Rose clerked for the Hon. Warren J. Ferguson, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She received her JD cum laude from New York University School of Law where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar.